Fields: Govt could fund downtown manager with part of property tax
The government could fund the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) as a statutory body that will manage the City of Nassau, by taking a percentage of the property tax from downtown businesses, thereby not adding any new taxes to manage the city.
Managing Director of the DNP Ed Fields said the draft legislation and draft business plan that would create the business improvement district (BID), which would outline how the DNP will manage the city, is complete and awaiting the next move by the government.
“The establishment of a BID would transform the DNP from an entity with very little authority and very challenged funding, to a commission of some sort that would have some authority on things like garbage collection, street maintenance and cleaning, some elements of security, signage and building conditions, to make sure that downtown is managed properly,” said Fields.
“We don’t anticipate any new taxes, but that major developments downtown will contribute in lieu of tax concession and possibly as well that we can look at a small segment of the property tax to be allocated, so that the things that government now does, we will do with that funding.”
He explained that the BID will make downtown a subset of a district within Nassau, almost akin to the structure of local government.
The DNP and successive governments have been working on developing a BID for several years – since the DNP was established.
“There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Fields. “I think we are 95 percent of the way in getting the foundational obstacles out of the way.
“We’re not in any way near drawings and this, but we have gotten the foundational stuff out of the way. I know people are impatient, but it is what it is.”
The DNP is also looking at changing traffic flows in the downtown area in order to improve the quality of life for the commuting public.
It is also contemplating employing metered parking downtown and restricting employees who work in the city from parking downtown, while implementing a shuttle system to get them into the city to work.
Fields said electric buses will be used to carry out this movement of people in order to reduce pollution.
“We believe we have an indication of someone who wants to look at donating and contributing to the actual capital (for the shuttle project), and the ongoing maintenance and operation,” he said.
“We are hoping to fund it by taking the relocated parking that employees use and meter downtown, so we have metered parking downtown that would be used to fund the shuttle.”
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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