Most commercial property owners along Fifth Avenue South would pay less to a proposed new taxing district there under a revised plan introduced Thursday evening.
The latest proposal for the Commerce Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District also shrinks the area's boundaries by excluding several blocks on its western end which were included in the original plan.
Generating money to help pay for improvements in the retail-heavy east end of Fort Dodge is the objective of the district, which was proposed earlier this year by business leaders.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Dick Sessler, who owns property at Fifth Avenue South and 29th Street, makes a point during a meeting at Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Thursday evening held to discuss the proposed Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District.
''The city planners didn't come to us with this,'' Casey Johnson, a member of the committee planning the district, said Thursday evening. ''The businesses came forward and said let's give this a whirl.''
Johnson said establishing the district would build on the city's corridor of commerce project which has yielded street improvements, underground electrical wires and landscaping along Fifth Avenue South between 21st and 31st streets.
''It's never looked this good in 30 years and we want to keep it top-notch,'' he said during an informational meeting held Thursday evening at his car dealership, Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota, 2723 Fifth Ave. S.
An additional property tax levy would be used to generate money for projects within the district.
Under the original proposal most property owners would have paid an extra tax of $1 per $1,000 of taxable value. Also under that proposal, Decker Truck Line Inc., 4000 Fifth Ave. S., would have paid 25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.
Under the plan unveiled Thursday, all the commercial property owners in an area between 21st Street and Menards, 3319 Fifth Ave. S., would pay an extra tax of 75 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. Under that plan, all the commercial property owners east of Menards would pay an extra tax of 30 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. The change reduces the extra levy for most property owners while slightly increasing it for Decker Truck Line Inc.
The extra levies would generate an estimated $71,330 annually, according to Matt Johnson, another member of the district's organizing committee.
He said the extra levy would amount to a 1.7 percent tax increase for businesses paying at the rate of 75 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.
For those paying at the rate of 30 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, the increase would amount to a .7 percent increase, he said.
Matt Johnson said that in either case, the extra tax would be a ''minimal investment as far as improving the area as a whole.''
The district's money would be spent on these priorities:
Expansion of streetscaping and corridor improvements.
Attracting new businesses.
Long-term capital improvements.
Supporting existing businesses.
A district board of directors would make recommendations to the City Council about spending the money. The council could not spend any of the money without a recommendation from the district's board.
To establish the district, commercial property owners will have to file petitions with the City Council. Those petitions must be signed by at least 25 percent of the property owners who represent at least 25 percent of the district's property value.
Casey Johnson said the district organizers won't submit the petitions unless they can greatly exceed the required number of signatures.
About 25 people attended Thursday's meeting. District organizers received both criticism and questions.
Dick Sessler, who owns property at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue South and 29th Street, restated his opposition to the plan.
''We've got to say no somewhere or it's just going to keep going up,'' he said.
Organizers of the project were asked if the proposed district would function like the Downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District. Casey Johnson replied that he believed it would be a mirror image of the downtown district.