Economic improvement district ordinance on agenda

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 05, 2012 02:51 pm

The La Grande City Council will consider final adoption Wednesday of an ordinance that enables formation of an economic improvement district for the downtown business district.

Last month, the council heard a first reading of the ordinance, which puts in place a process for forming a district but does not in itself establish a district. Following public hearings, the council would consider a second ordinance that would actually establish a district.

The La Grande Main Street program hopes to establish a district for the downtown area, with assessments of properties within the district set at .3 percent of county assessed real market value. The effort to form a district can be defeated “by remonstrance,” meaning that no district can be formed if written objections are received from owners of properties upon which more than 33 percent of the total amount of assessments is levied. 

Economic Improvement Districts are used most frequently to provide support for commercial districts and to increase retail opportunities.

The district being considered would raise $80,000 through assessments. The money would support various Main Street activities, including promotions and events, landscape and maintenance, and business retention and recruitment. It would also help pay the salary of a full-time Main Street director.

The EID ordinance tops a light agenda for the council Wednesday. In other business, the council will consider a resolution that would vacate 20 feet of property along B Avenue, west of Walnut Street.

Wednesday’s meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at La Grande City Hall.