Chamber requests SID expansion plan be tabled

The Chamber of Commerce will ask City Council to table a proposed ordinance that expands the Special Improvement District (SID) until early next year.

City Council is scheduled to consider O-42-14 at its regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m. which would expand the SID from  the downtown redevelopment area, consisting of 138 properties, to all commercial properties citywide, which would closer to 500 properties.

9ce51-img_4958The downtown SID, which was created in 1993, generates some $130,000 through an additional tax of $0.351 per $100 of assessed value on commercial properties. The SID used to be managed by the Rahway Center Partnership until it was dissolved a few years ago and now is managed by the Arts District. An expanded SID would generate more like $600,000 to $700,000 and possibly a lower tax rate given more properties paying. The amount would depend on the budget set by the Arts District board, according to City Adminstrator Cherron Rountree. She described some of the functions and services an expanded SID budget could provide during an interview after last week’s City Council pre-conference meeting.

b4391-centercirclesdiinbackIn a statement released Wednesday, Chamber President Andy Baron said tabling the measure would “provide more  time for the business owners, property owners, and residents to learn more about the impact of the proposed ordinance and how the revenue raised from the proposed expansion would be utilized.

“The additional time will permit a more open and meaningful discussion on how this proposed ordinance would benefit the entire community,” he wrote.

If the ordinance  is not approved tonight, the earliest it could be enacted would be March. Since the new year brings a new City Council session (and two new council members), the ordinance would have to be reintroduced. First reading would take place in January, with a second reading and public hearing in February, and if passed, takeeaffect 20 days later. That would push the timeline to March, which would be too late for the 2015 budget season, Rountree said.

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