Downtown Residents Discuss Property Assessment for Neighborhood Improvement | New

The Norman Downtowners Association can submit a property assessment to pay for future downtown projects before area property owners.

The assessment would be part of a business improvement district. Also known as BIDs, these neighborhoods use private funds to beautify the area, increase property values, and reduce commercial vacancy rates.

Members pay a special membership fee to cover the expenses of services to the district beyond what the local government provides in the area, according to a presentation by Cameron Brewer, chairman of the Norman Town Center BID Training Committee.

At least 51% of landowners in the designated area are required to sign petitions to adopt this business district boundary. Brewer said private owners make the decision to register and self-assess.

“Honestly, I think that’s one of the coolest things about a business for the district is that the owners themselves say, ‘We make the decision to assess ourselves to reinvest in the property,” Brewer said.

Brewer said he hopes to appear before the board with the BID proposal this fall. The Downtown Norman BID would begin January 1, 2023.

What is an OFFER?

BIDs are not taxes – according to Thursday’s presentation, “all affected parties in the district must pay the assessment”, but are only implemented with the majority consent of property owners in the area.

The assessment would be calculated using a formula that includes a property’s assessed value, parcel area and frontage of a property on Main Street, Gray Street, James Garner Avenue, Porter Avenue and certain secondary streets, according to the presentation.

The DIS assessment structure has three components: tax value assessment, linear frontage assessment, and an area assessment.

The tax value assessment is 8% of 1% of the taxable value of a parcel. The acreage assessment is $1,100 for each acre of land.

The neighborhoods are 100% public, which means the money would not be used to improve a facade or any other matter that directly benefits private property, Brewer said.

BIDs are adopted for a period of 10 years. At the end of this term, the district determines if an extension of the BID is desired and necessary.

Brewer said business owners should consider an offer for increased beautification, reduced crime, increased occupancy rates and pedestrian numbers, improved walking, additional direct advocacy and more easy to coordinate events.

The total budget proposed for the first year of the BID is $133,000.

Brewer said the next steps are to acquire as many signatures as possible from downtown business owners by July 1.

“We’ve heard comments from the board, not only from the current board but also from the future board, that if they feel that [thresholds are met] and there is the support of a good majority of landowners in this area, so we expect this to pass in council,” Brewer said.

Three additional meetings are scheduled for next week: Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. face-to-face and 2 p.m. via Zoom, and 6 p.m. Thursday. In-person meetings are held at 424 W. Main St. A Zoom link and more information about the BID can be found at http://www.downtownnorman.com/bid