Adding Title III to Chapter 6-56, "Downtown Business Improvement Area"

October 18, 2005




Section 1.  On September 13, 2005, the Council of the City of Santa Rosa (Council) adopted a Resolution of Intention to establish a business improvement area to be known as the Downtown Business Improvement Area; and

Section 2.  The Council has now, after a public hearing, determined to establish the Downtown Business Improvement Area to provide for the levy of a benefit assessment and to adopt an ordinance to such effect.

Section 3Findings. The Council hereby finds and declares:

A) Pursuant to section 36500 et seq. of the California Streets and Highways Code (Act), the Council on September 13, 2005, adopted Resolution of Intention No. 26388, declaring its intention to establish a business improvement area to be known as the Downtown Business Improvement Area (Area), and caused such Resolution to be mailed in accordance with the law.

B) Pursuant to California Government Code section 54954.6 and the Act, a noticed public meeting and public hearing regarding the establishment of the Area were held on September 13, 2005 at approximately 4:00 p.m., and October 11, 2005 at approximately 5:00 p.m., respectively, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, California 95404.

C) At said meeting of September 13, 2005 and hearing of October 11, 2005, written and verbal evidence for and against the proposed establishment of the Area was received and considered by the Council and that all written protests received did not constitute a majority protest by the public affected by the establishment of the proposed Area in accordance with section 36525 of the Act.

D) The public interest, convenience and necessity require the establishment of the proposed Area and the businesses and property within the Area will benefit by the improvements and activities funded by the assessments proposed to be levied for the purposes herein described pursuant to the Act.

E) The improvements and activities within the Area shall be funded by the levy of assessments and such assessments shall not be used to fund improvements and/or activities for any purpose other than the purposes specified in the Resolution of Intention as adopted or modified by the Council at the hearing concerning establishment of the area.

F) The businesses in the Area shall be subject to any amendments to the Area's boundaries, amounts of assessment, improvements or activities subject to the requirements of the Act.

Section 4Establishment of Area. Pursuant to the Act, a business improvement area to be named the "Downtown Business Improvement Area" is hereby created and established. The Area shall be comprised of three separate Benefit Zones: the Courthouse Square Benefit Zone, the Railroad Square Benefit Zone and the Santa Rosa Plaza Benefit Zone. The Area is proposed to include the following addresses:

Railroad Square Benefit Zone

     Street                   Odd Range              Even Range
Third Street                   1 - 299                       2 - 298
Fourth Street                 1 - 299                       2 - 298
Fifth Street                    1 - 299                       2 - 298
Sixth Street                   1 - 101                       2 - 198
Seventh Street               1 - 111                       2 - 98
Eighth Street                 1 - 109                       2 - 116
Adams Street             501 - 599                   500 - 598
Davis Street                201 - 499                  200 - 498
Railroad Street            101 - 299                  100 - 298
West Third Street           1 - 7                         2 - 6
West Sixth Street           0 - 9                        2 - 60
West Seventh Street       1 - 35                      2 - 24
West Eighth Street         1 - 99                      2 - 98
Wilson Street              201 - 799                200 - 798
Courthouse Square Benefit Zone
Street                        Odd Range                  Even Range
Tenth Street                  401 - 499                       400 - 498
First Street                   401 - 699                        400 - 698
Second Street              501 - 799                         500 - 798
Third Street                  501 - 799                         500 - 798
Fourth Street                501 - 801                         500 - 802
Fifth Street                   599 - 829                         598 - 798
Seventh Street             401 - 621                          500 - 998
A Street                         0 - 0                                  2 - 198
B Street                      501 - 511                           100 - 628
Beaver Street              401 - 499                            400 - 498
College Avenue               0 – 0                               456 - 456
D Street                         1 - 399                                2 - 398
E Street                         1 - 431                                2 - 430
Healdsburg Avenue          0 - 699                               0 - 698
Humboldt Street           401 - 499                           400 - 498
King Street                  401 - 433                           400 - 418
Mendocino Avenue          1 - 699                               2 - 698
Old Courthouse Square   1 - 299                               2 - 298
Orchard Street            401 - 499                            400 - 498
Riley Street                401 - 499                            400 - 498
Ross Street                501 - 599                            500 - 598
South E Street               1 - 99                                 2 - 98
Santa Rosa Avenue        1 - 149                               2 - 198
Sonoma Avenue         601 - 799                               0 - 0
Santa Rosa Plaza Benefit Zone
1071 Santa Rosa Plaza

Section 5.  Description of District Boundaries. The proposed boundaries of the Area and each separate Benefit Zone are as set forth in Exhibit A.
Section 6. Definition of Business. For the Railroad Square and Courthouse Square Benefit Zones, "business" shall mean all types of businesses, including financial institutions and professions, with the exception of street vendors, which shall mean those businesses operating in the public right of way, without a fixed location, and on a temporary (once a week or less) or seasonal (three months out of the year or less) basis; and home occupations, which shall mean those businesses which are conducted at a residence by the primary resident, which no customers, clients, or non-resident employees visit as a regular business practice, or which, if the occupation involves tutoring, no more than two students visit at one time. 

Section 7Classification of Businesses and Calculation of Assessments. For purposes of the assessments to be imposed pursuant to this Ordinance, the Council may make a reasonable classification of businesses, giving consideration to various factors, including general benefit to businesses and the degree of benefit received from proposed improvements and activities within the area. All businesses, trades and professions including insurance, financial institutions and nonprofits located within the Area shall, commencing November 17, 2005, be classified, defined, and assessed as set forth in Exhibit B. Businesses commenced during the year following the establishment or renewal of the Area shall not be exempt from such assessments, but shall be assessed the appropriate amounts as listed in Exhibit B in a prorated format based upon the number of whole months remaining in the assessment period.

Section 8Hardship Rate.  For businesses whose gross receipts (as defined by the City of Santa Rosa Business Tax Code Chapter 6-04.010(D)) total $25,000 or less in the previous calendar year, or whose estimated gross receipts will total $25,000 or less in the current calendar year, a "Hardship Rate" of 60% of the annual assessment as calculated may be paid for the current assessment year.  Any business paying the hardship rate shall certify under oath that it is qualified for this rate, and shall provide supporting documentation upon the City's written request.

Section 9Records. Every business subject to assessment under this Chapter shall keep and preserve, for a period of three years, all records as may be necessary to determine the amount of such assessment, which records the City shall have the right to inspect at a reasonable time and place.

Section 10. Use of Revenue. The purposes for which the funds raised by said benefit assessment may be used shall be devoted to the statutory purposes set forth in Sections 36510 and 36513 of the Act, which may include, but are not limited to the following improvements and activities:

A) General promotion of business activities within the Area;
B) Promotion of public events which benefit businesses within the Area and which are to take place on or in public places within the Area;
C) Decoration of any public place within the Area; and
D) Acquisition, construction, installation or maintenance of improvements identified in section 36510 of the Act.

Section 11. Advisory Board/Annual Report

A) Appointment.  The Council shall appoint an Advisory Board pursuant to Section 36530 of the Act in order to make recommendations to the Council on the expenditure of revenue obtained from the levy of assessments, on proposed improvements and activities, on the classification of businesses and on the method and basis of levying assessments.

B) The Council finds and declares that the persons appointed to the Advisory Board shall represent and further the interests of the Downtown Business Improvement Area. Only persons who own or are an officer or shareholder in a business in the Area that is subject to the levy of assessments shall be appointed.

C) Annual Report.  The Advisory Board shall prepare a report for each fiscal year for which assessments are to be levied. The report shall be filed with the City Clerk and shall comply with all the requirements of Section 36533 of the Act. The report shall be approved as filed or modified. No change in the basis or method of levying assessments which would impair an executed contract to be paid from the revenues derived from the assessments shall be approved by the Council.

Section 12Annual Levy of Assessments

A) Annual Resolution of Intention.  After approval of the Annual Report filed by the Advisory Board, the Council, in order to renew the Area, shall adopt a Resolution of Intention to levy and collect assessments for the subject fiscal year pursuant to Section 36534 of the Act. The Resolution shall be published once in a local newspaper and shall set the time and place for a public hearing on the levy of assessments for that fiscal year.

B) Annual Public Hearing.  The Council shall, pursuant to Section 36535 of the Act, hold an annual public hearing on the levy of assessments as specified in the Resolution of Intention.

C) Resolution Confirming Annual Report and Levy of Assessments.  At the conclusion of the annual public hearing, in order to levy assessments for the subject fiscal year, the Council shall, by resolution, confirm the Annual Report as filed or modified. Adoption of this resolution shall constitute the levy of assessments for the fiscal year referred to in the Annual Report.

Section 13Boundary and Assessment Modifications.  The Council may, at the Advisory Board's recommendation, modify the boundaries or assessments established pursuant to this Ordinance; the modifications shall be made pursuant to the requirements of the Act, but no assessment shall be modified which would impair the ability of the Area to meet the obligation of a contract to be paid from the revenues derived from the levy of assessments. Such changes shall be made by ordinance adopted after a hearing before the Council or by resolution, if approved in conjunction with confirmation of the annual report.

Section 14Collection of Benefit Assessment.  The benefit assessment authorized by this Ordinance shall be billed annually by the City with all funds collected to be placed in an account separate from the City's general fund to be expended in accordance with this Ordinance and subsequent resolutions and fund management agreements. The levy of assessments shall be accomplished by mailing assessment notices to all businesses as herein defined within the Area by first class mail once each year, to be due and payable within 30 days of the date of the notice.

Section 15

A) Penalty for Delinquent Payment. For failure to pay a benefit assessment within 30 days of the date of billing, a penalty of ten percent (10%) of the assessment amount shall be charged by the City. An additional penalty of ten percent (10%) of the assessment amount shall be charged for failure to pay the benefit assessment every 30 days thereafter. The total penalty amount to be charged shall in no event exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the assessment amount due. Any additional collection costs incurred by the City or collection agent acting on behalf of the City, shall be added to the assessment amount due. Such additional costs may include, but are not limited to, attorney fees, court costs, agent fees and servicing fees. In addition to the penalties imposed, any business that fails to remit any assessment imposed by this chapter shall pay interest at the rate of 1% per month, exclusive of penalties, on the amount of the assessment from the date on which the assessment first becomes delinquent until paid. Every penalty imposed and interest that accrues under the provisions of this chapter shall become part of the assessment required to be paid.

B) Reporting.  If any business fails to file any required statement or fails to pay a benefit assessment when due, the City may determine the amount of the assessment due from the business on the basis of such information as the City may obtain. If there is inadequate information to make this determination after reasonable inquiry, the City may determine the amount due based upon the maximum rate allowable for the Benefit Zone in which the business is located.

C) Debt Owed to City.  The amount of the assessment, penalties and interest imposed by this chapter shall be deemed a debt owed to the City. An action may be commenced in a court of competent jurisdiction for the amount of the assessment, and resulting penalties, interests, costs and fees, including reasonable attorney fees.

Section 16Penalty for Violation. A violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished in accordance with City Code section 1-28.010.

Section 17Remedies Cumulative.  All remedies prescribed in this chapter shall be cumulative. The use of one or more remedies by the City shall not bar the use of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing these provisions.

Section 18Effective Date.  This ordinance shall take effect on November 17, 2005.

IN COUNCIL DULY PASSED AND ADOPTED this 18th day of October, 2005.