In the Chambers
This meeting (the Inspiring Spaces meeting) is all about Union Square. How do we direct traffic to Union Square?
Union Square Union Square Union Square yada yada yada
Wayfinding to Union Square
End of the great Kabuki part 1. Now on to part 2.
Let's see how this rolls.
2 cent property tax increase does not include Inspiring Spaces.
I repeat Inspiring Spaces not included.
Honestly, this budget was Mick Berry and Hickory Inc.'s finest hour during his tenure. The budget he put forth is fiscally responsible. Anyone should accept the additional penny for roads and the additional penny for operational costs due to the loss in revenue of the hold harmless monies that have been coming from the State Government. I can't emphasize enough that the action taken on this night is fiscally sound.
The talk that should be had with the Inspiring Spaces group comes back to a proposal from, I believe, 2004 -- The Business Improvement District (BID) tax. Businesses in the Downtown area balked on this proposal and so it fell on its face back in 2004. It is understandable why it did, when they (Downtown Business and Property Owners) have constantly gotten monies from the General Fund. The revenue that would be raised from the "Redefined Downtown" properties BID tax would go directly back into that area and the other areas of Hickory would not be paying for their area. Other BID tax areas could start in the other quadrants should the property owners choose. I also think the Downtown Development Association should be created as a Department with the city. If the City is going to pay monies, and with a BID tax structure, then City Hall should have complete oversight.
The presentation by City Manager Berry was rather short and directly to the point. Inspiring Spaces as a part of the 2014-15 budget was not mentioned. This was very surprising and my sources were wrong, so that makes me wrong about what was going to happen on this night. I wasn't wrong about what was presented by the Inspiring Spaces group, but I was very surprised when the follow through did not occur.
I was wrong, but happy with the result that no tax would be increased in the name of Inspiring Spaces... and this won't happen until a referendum takes place that will establish whether or not the public wants it. The City needs to come forward with specifics on how to raise the revenues and what the projects will cost. That is all that is being asked for... nothing more, nothing less.
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