****UPDATE – November, 18, 2015****
Proposed Business Improvement District for Highway 12 Corridor Fails in Tie Vote
Efforts to form a Business Improvement District for the Highway 12 Corridor in Starkville have ceased after the proposal died in a tie vote at a November 17 property owner meeting.
36 property owners attended a working meeting facilitated by consultant Randy Wilson of Community Design Solutions of Columbia, South Carolina, to establish and vote on a plan identifying the following elements, as required by Mississippi Code:
(a) A description of the boundaries of the district sufficient to identify the lands included;
(b) The improvements proposed and the maximum cost thereof for each of the coming ten (10) years;
(c) The total amount proposed to be expended for improvements for and in the district during the upcoming ten (10) years;
(d) The proposed source or sources of financing and funding for the improvements;
(e) The proposed target dates for beginning the implementation of the improvements;
(f) The naming of the district management group for the upcoming ten (10) years; and
(g) A listing of the individual properties to be included in the district with any assessment computed and identified for each property based upon gross square footage of buildings and unimproved real estate. The plan may provide that tax exempt properties be included in the district but not be subject to any assessment.
With a vote of 18-18, the proposal was killed. A simple majority was required to advance the proposed Business Improvement District to the next phase, which included a public hearing and a vote by ballot by property owners.
“We’re obviously very disappointed in the result of the property owner meeting. The Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP) was presented with a request from Highway 12 property owners and merchants to find a solution to improve the aesthetics of the Highway 12 corridor, and we worked exceptionally hard to provide that. We feel like the proposed Business Improvement District was an excellent and palatable tool for property owners to use to take matters into their own hands and beautify a corridor that is a major gateway to the Starkville community and Mississippi State University. Unfortunately, the support was not there. We encourage property owners to continue to work hard to improve the corridor, and we wish them the best in that endeavor,” said Jennifer Gregory, GSDP Chief Executive Officer.
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership is a community development organization in Starkville, Mississippi, including member entities the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce, Starkville Visitors and Convention Council, Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, and Starkville Main Street Association.
Highway 12 Business Improvement District
In January 2014, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership (GSDP) released a strategic plan that included the formation of several key task forces, one of which was the Highway 12 Task Force. All Partnership members were invited to participate. The Task Force met for the first time in the Winter of 2014 and has met monthly, sometimes twice per month, over the last 20 months to formulate a plan for the Highway 12 corridor. The plan includes the formation of a Business Improvement District (BID,) with the express goal of improving safety and aesthetics on the corridor.
Mississippi statute allows for the creation of a BID, which is a special assessment district, in which property owners in the jurisdiction, assess themselves, and manage the totality of funds for improvement for that area. The proposed BID would include all businesses on Highway 12 from Mississippi State University to the Highway 25 bypass.
Above are renderings of the possibilities with funding created by a BID. Because there is a 10 year sunset on the legislation, and therefore, guaranteed funding for the same time period, bonding is a possibility, which allows for an immediate impact over the full corridor. The renderings depict only one intersection and thoroughfare within the corridor, but the impact would be realized throughout the entire district.
The process for creating a BID depends on input from property owners. Neither a detailed plan nor a budget can be created until input is received during a formal public input session. The following list depicts the necessary steps, according to Mississippi statute, that must be taken in order for a successful creation of the BID:
— 20% of property owners within the proposed district must sign a petition to begin the authorization process for the Highway 12 BID
— Planning session will be held for all Highway 12 property owners to determine specifics of the Highway 12 BID plan
— Public hearing will be held to review the plan and receive comment from the public
— Ballots will be distributed to all Highway 12 property owners with a deadline to return to the City of Starkville City Clerk
— Board of Aldermen establish Highway 12 BID through resolution and ordinance
— Mississippi Legislature approves local and private bill to create Highway 12 BID
How can you help? Assist us with signing the petition (download here) to authorize the process to begin if you’re a property owner on Highway 12, or spread the word to help us reach everyone. Please set up a meeting with our CEO Jennifer Gregory to ask questions or provide input. She can be reached at (662) 323-3322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The petition is only to authorize the process. There has not been an assessment determined for the BID, and there won’t be until the majority of the property owners present at the public input session concur on a path forward. Please download the petition, sign, and return to the GSDP office at 200 East Main Street, so we can move forward to the public input session.