Rochester Downtown Alliance plans to raise an additional $ 26,000 from the companies it represents next year.
The organization, which is funded by a tax levy on a special service district, kept its annual funding request unchanged last year, but requested the maximum increase of 8% this year, which was granted on Monday by Rochester City Council. The increase was passed with a 4-2 vote.
“There are things you do in a downturn to make sure you’re ready for a recovery, and that’s one of them,” board member Nick Campion said of the support. provided by the alliance.
Council member Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick, who represents downtown, said it could be “too big a leap.”
Joined by board member Shaun Palmer in opposing the increase, she said that after a year of keeping the tax stable, an 8% increase appears steep.
The legislation that created the district allows for an annual increase of 4% to 8% each year, which was overturned last year to forgo an increase.
The alliance, which hosts a variety of downtown events including Downtown and Social Ice Thursdays, also uses the funding for marketing and physical improvements in the neighborhood.
Andrew Davick, attorney at Meshbesher & Spence law firm, said now was not the right time for the increase.
“We have had a loss of business in this area,” said the lawyer, who said he spoke on behalf of Titan Development and its CEO Andy Chafoulias.
“If we add to the levy, we’re going to see businesses move out of this downtown corridor,” he added.
RDA Executive Director Holly Masek said the increased funding, which brings the overall levy to $ 350,659, is needed to continue the work started with the formation of the alliance in 2005 and expanded in recent years. with external funding.
“In order to continue to grow and support these programs, funding will have to start coming from the Special Services District,” she said of efforts like the Clean and Safe program.
The increase in the levy in 2022 will be distributed among the contributing downtown businesses based on the assessed value of their building, meaning the actual rate of increase for individual commercial properties will vary.