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Council gives BID thumbs up

May 02, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council, with few comments, approved the establishment of a business improvement district for the downtown.

The vote Wednesday was 4-0, with Mayor Larry Grogan abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

No one spoke against the issue, and City Clerk Rita Noden announced the city did not receive any correspondence in opposition to the district.

Frank Popejoy spoke in favor of the BID on behalf of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

"We are very much in support of the district," he said. "We want to see it move forward. We want to be behind it."

The BID would levy certain fees on all downtown businesses that front Main Street between Fourth and Eighth streets. Fees would range from a low of $80 per year, to a high of $600 per year.

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Oscar Rodriquez, city development director, said the majority would pay a fee of about $280 yearly, and a total of $35,420 would be raised. Allowable functions include sidewalk sweeping, tree maintenance, graffiti removal, security, economic development, marketing and promotion and parking-related actions — but not capital improvements.

Scott Devoy, owner of Green's Jewelry, said he supports the formation of the BID, and he submitted a petition with 38 signatures of business owners in favor.

In other business, the City Council approved:

· borrowing $2 million to avoid projected cash shortfalls because of the irregular receipt of taxes and other revenues during the fiscal year 2002-03. The money would be repaid at the end of the fiscal year.

· an additional $10,628 for recently completed water and wastewater rate studies. The consultant had requested twice the amount approved.

· $46,000 for a study to determine if the city is charging appropriately for the services it supplies.

· the initial design of a $3 million project to widen Dogwood Road to four or five lanes between Ross and McCabe.

· the purchase of $53,894.50 in playground equipment for Bucklin and Adams parks.

· in concept, an abandoned vehicle abatement program.

· a resolution in favor of keeping the Imperial Sand Dunes open to the public.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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