Improvement district being dissolved

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The final chapter is being written in the history of the South Broadway Business Improvement District.

The curtain started to come down at the June 17 Englewood City Council meeting, when Bob Laughlin, BID president, said the district had ceased efforts to overturn the validity of the dissolution petitions.

“The goal of the BID has always been to make Englewood a better place to own or operate a business,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were not able to rally enough support to overturn the dissolution petitions. We now bow to the decision of the city council in regards to the distribution of the district’s assets.”

The South Broadway Business Improvement District was formed by election in 2006 and includes all commercial properties on both sides of Broadway from Yale Avenue to U.S. Highway 285. Proponents sought to create the self-taxing, self-governed program to finance projects above and beyond those provided by governmental agencies.

Merchants along the stretch of Broadway launched the successful grass-roots effort to create the business district, followed the process and, in the required November 2006 election, property owners voted almost 2 to 1 to create the district.

However, not every property owner in the district was pleased with its creation or with the way the district operated, and some began an effort to dissolve it

The petitions were presented to the council on March 18 during a public hearing on the effort to dissolve the district. The city council, at the request of BID officers, continued the public hearing for 90 days to give district officials the opportunity to seek to challenge the petition.

Dominique Cook, a strong proponent of dissolving the district, was a scheduled speaker at the June 17 public hearing, and said she took the opportunity to say what she intended to say to the council at the March 18 meeting when she wasn’t allowed to speak.

She said the property owners followed the state laws and this was the third petition seeking dissolution of the business district because of the inefficient way the district was operated.

During the public hearing, she said her father, John Cook — who owns numerous properties along South Broadway — supported creation of the district and then supported the effort to dissolve it because of the district was operated.

Property owner Dave Maria also testified and he said he favored dissolution because he had to pay extra taxes to the district but received no benefits for his money.

Dan Brotzman, city attorney, said the petitions are sufficient and an ordinance will be presented to the council at the July 1 meeting that will officially dissolve the South Broadway Business Improvement District.

He also said there will be a study session July 15 to discuss options for distribution of business district assets. It was noted the assets included money as well as physical assets such as bike racks and flowerpots.

If the council passes the ordinance to dissolve the business district on first reading on July 1, the normal procedure is the ordinance will come up for second and final reading at the July 16 council meeting.