Redwood City moving toward a community benefit improvement district in which downtown property owners assess themselves to fund services beyond what the city currently provide.
The districts won’t replace city-funded services but cover extras like sidewalk steam cleaning, installing security cameras, beautification and promotion.
On Monday night, the City Council will consider an ordinance allowing the creation of the districts which is a tangible step toward making them a reality. Once the ordinance is approved, details like district boundaries and the amount of the assessment can be worked out. The hope is to collect enough signatures by April to trigger a mail-in vote to form the district and have the first assessments appear on property tax bills by this fall.
Redwood City and its former redevelopment agency invested more than $64 million in its downtown but a combination of the state dissolving the RDAs, the recession keeping visitors at bay and then an uptick in visitors have contributed to challenges in continuing financial support. The city currently spends more than $2.5 million maintaining streets, operating parking facilities and providing police and plans to continue doing so at this baseline but the proposed assessments would address enhanced services for the growing need, according to Economic Development Manager Sean Brooks’ summary to the City Council.
A property owner steering committee has met three times to survey property owners and found support among those who participated.
As a charter city, Redwood City can create its own procedures and rules for the districts rather than abiding by state law. The proposed city ordinance calls for the petition for creation to be signed by property owners paying at least 30 percent of the proposed assessments and no one owner can account for more than two-thirds of that 30 percent. The district can also be established and renewed in 20-year increments.
The city will also be ale to give a district a payment advance so that it can begin operating before tax bills go out.
The Redwood City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, March 10 at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102