Quality of Life Issues/What are we thinking?

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Help save the beautiful Wachovia tower downtown and award the buyer over 2 million (city/county) dollars to build himself a penthouse apartment there.

Buy and demolish the beautiful old Ice House on East Market Street and park buses on the lot.(city)

Do nothing to help save the beautiful old Arbor House.

Revoke the charter of a school (state) operating on Friendly and Church streets thus allowing the owner to sell the property for a huge profit to be converted into offices.

Spend $750,000 for street scape improvements around a privately owned park downtown and commit city money to maintain and promote it.(city)

Allow college students to ride city buses free while charging the working poor for transportation to their jobs on the same buses.(federal, state,city)

Let city-owned property deteriorate from lack of routine maintenance.

Ask citizens to borrow money (approve bonds) to build Fire Stations because there is not enough money left over after too much wasteful spending to provide adequate police and fire protection for the city.

Close and donate streets to the private (non-profit? ? ) developers of a downtown ball park.

Invite College students to Get Downtown and Get Drunk.

Raise the tax rate to cover shipping household trash to a dump in another county.

WOW. I don't understand.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that WE start thinking finally because it is obvious that THEY (city council) are not thinking. Have you read my lastest blog on Center City park--an eye opener. BB

diane said...

BB,
I understand the BID and the Sales tax issues in downtown. After all, I am the owner of a very small piece of real estate downtown and a former small business owner.
I understand the SPIN. I just don't understand why the citizens of Greensboro keep falling for it.

Anonymous said...

Diane, What do you mean by SPIN. I am not familiar with that designation. And Diane, a BID has nothing at all to do with sales taxes; Unless Greensboro has set up their own form of BID. Dear Lord, it seems to get murkier and murkier doesn't it. BB

Joe Guarino said...

Diane, you raise some excellent concerns. I read elsewhere today that now UNCG employees would like to ride the buses provided for students. They are apparently already entitled to do so for $1, but...

diane said...

Hey BB,
Actually, sales taxes are tied up with the BID in Downtown Greensboro with Downtown Greensboro Inc. being in charge of spending it all.
Every property owner in downtown pays an additional 9 cent property tax. For some reason, that makes it a separate taxing authority and gives DGI (which somehow became a quasi-judicial entity) a portion of the sales taxes collected. This is predicted to amount to more than 150,000 this year.
So, because the BID was put into place to tax the property owners, a portion of the sales tax goes into the coffers of Downtown Greensboro Inc.

Government continues to grow appendages. SPIN is a twisted and complicated way to explain stuff that shouldn't need an explanation.

Sandy Carmany said...

Diane,

Downtown Greensboro Inc. must present an annual budget for the city council's approval to spend any city money included in their budget, and that includes the 9-cent property tax generated by the BID. That item was number 29 on our August 15 council agenda. If you want to take a look at the detailed budget, you will find it on page 63 of the "attachments" PDF. file at http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/BB41CB8E-0DA1-41D0-A6F3-0A9FC433E01D/0/att060815.pdf
(Warning: the file is 85 pages long and takes FOREVER to load.)

This is routine governmental procedure. The Convention and Visitors Bureau has to do the same thing every year even though they have an independent board. If the money flows through the city accounts as do the BID and hotel/motel taxes, the city must approve the use and expenditure of those funds.

The $150,000 in BID sales tax you mentioned is what the city is going to use for the Center City Park maintenance (along with the unspent fund balance of last year's sales tax allocation since there is nothing to maintain at the moment. If it weren't being used for this purpose, the BID could use it on other downtown projects after getting city council's approval.

Sandy Carmany said...

Joe,
ANY person wishing to do so -- you, me, UNCG employee or not, John or Jane Q. Public -- can ride the HEAT bus right now by paying the $1 fare just as they can any other GTA bus. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the western route out to Guilford College becomes quite popular with regular riders -- it is basically an express service with only one stop at Friendly Shopping Center once it leaves UNCG.

I think UNCG is wanting their employees to be able to ride HEAT by showing their UNCG IDs without having to pay the $1. While I am not involved in that conversation, it would be logical that UNCG be required to contribute additional money to HEAT to cover those additional riders.

Anonymous said...

Diane, I have been associated with several self taxing districts and yes they do tax themselves as I state in my blog and the assessment is based on their property values. And yes, they do in this one area become separate entities, but in all other ways must comply with city and county laws just as do the rest of us. In this case downtown property owners thru Downtown Greensboro, Inc. are free to use the separate property assessment they placed upon themselves in any way they want as long as it doesn't brake any laws or city ordinances. The "proportional share" of sales taxes is another entirely different issue and if this is indeed happening as Ms. Carmany states then something very fishy is going on in this deal. BB

diane said...

Hey Sandy,
Didn't the City Council pass the DGI budget on the consent agenda without public comment?

diane said...

Hey BB,
The City Council passed the BID tax. The property owners did not officially vote to be taxed.

The SPIN on that is: Those who wanted the tax claimed that 70 percent of property owners wanted the tax.
The truth is that the owners of 70 percent of the tax value in downtown wanted the tax. And, of course JP wanted it because it would contribute to the park that helped them sell the Wachovia building. And DGI wanted it because it was an excuse for them to stay alive. Also, many of the non-profits, who don't pay property taxes, were said to be for the BID.
Of course, the owners of the big bucks real estate probably do not absorb the tax, their tenants do.

What happened to one man, one vote? This was done more like a verbal or implied stock holder vote, but it was never a true vote of all of the property owners.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that the BID is necessarily a bad thing, just that it was not done in what I believe to be a good faith way.

Sandy Carmany said...

Diane,
Yes, this item was on the consent agenda for August 15. If you will recall, the DGI annual report and budget was a topic on our July 25 briefing session and council reviewed and discussed it in depth at that time.

Any item can be pulled off the consent agenda at the request of any councilmember or citizen who have questions or comments about that item. No councilmember or citizen requested that so obviously there were no remaining questions or concerns when it came time for the official vote on August 15.

Sandy Carmany said...

Anonymous,
You are correct that the BID must comply with all laws and regulations just as any governmental body must.

As I stated in my earlier comment, The BID can identify projects and ways they wish to spend the 9-cent property tax and the sales tax distribution it receives, but the city council must approve any expenditures involving that public money by voting and approving their annual budget administered by DGI. There is city oversight on the use of that BID tax money and they are not free to spend it anyway they please.

Sandy Carmany said...

Diane,
For the record, I was the lone "no" vote on the BID, mainly for the very reason you cited -- that the big property owners who were pushing so hard for it overshadowed the many smaller property owners who were not in favor of it.

diane said...

Thanks Sandy,
I remember that vote.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Carmany, BB is commonly known in the G'boro blogosphere as being Brenda Bowers. Thank you for your information. BB