Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard wasn’t feeling all that good before addressing commissioners at Monday’s committee meetings. She could only have been feeling worse after it was over.
Woodard was there to inform commissioners that the Business Improvement District (BID) was 20 votes short of the 51 percent of property owners needed for renewal.
If she didn’t get the 51 percent before noon on Monday, Woodard said she would remove it from Tuesday’s commission agenda, which seems an odd move, since she also announced a public meeting right before the commission meeting — a meeting that would be moot if without the 51 percent and perhaps counterproductive with it, since Commissioner Jerry Brigham confirmed with legal council that even with the 51 percent, the commission could still consider whether or not to approve it.
The BID, created in 2007, was intended to provide extra funds to help the Broad Street area become a destination spot similar to those in Charleston and Savannah, and it has several things going against it, not the least of which is the fact that it has fallen short of many of its originally stated goals — things like safety, maintenance, marketing, business recruitment and business retention.
Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle called it a $350,000 cleaning service, then insisted that the prisoners who used to do the clean up did about as good a job. Woodard apparently considered that a compliment, because her defense for the lack of a safety component rested squarely in the idea that sometimes cleanliness can be considered safety.
That’s like using a negative to prove another negative is really a positive.
Even more unpopular than the condition of Broad Street was the revelation that the Marriott not only controls two of the 12 BID board members, but it exists in its own sub-district and is taxed at a lower rate than the rest of the business owners in the BID.
Woodard said it was because that, unlike the rest of the BID, the Marriott has its own security, landscaping and cleaning crews, but in the wake of the TEE Center/parking deck fiasco and the fact that Woodard pretty much established that no one else was getting security or landscaping services, no one seemed too impressed with her argument. You Might Also Like:
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