City Council OKs BID |

City Council OKs BID

The Nevada City council approved the Business Improvement District plan for next year by a 3-2 vote Monday night.

The program, criticized by some businesses for charging unfair and burdensome rates, went to a vote after a lengthy debate. BID had the support of businesses that have paid about 51 percent of the tax dollars it receives, according to figures provided at the meeting.

There’s “a bunch of new energy coming to the BID,” said Councilmember Barbara Coffman, who voted to support the group. Proponents of the plan say benefits, such as new benches and window displays, will increase sales as the program continues.

Coffman was joined by Vice Mayor Sally Harris and Councilmember David McKay in voting for the BID. Mayor Steve Cottrell and Council member Sheila Stein voted against the plan.

Stein called the fee structure “inequitable.” She works for National Home Loans in the city and pays the BID $500 annually but was not required to recuse herself.

Cottrell pointed to the divisiveness of the program in Nevada City.

At the meeting, BID opponents provided figures that showed 72 of the city’s 150 businesses protest the BID. Tom Coleman, owner of the National Hotel on Broad Street, said it was “misleading to the opposition” that some businesses recently had been allowed to rescind their protests.

Stonehouse Restaurant owner Mimi Boardman said she was one of the “four turncoats” who rescinded her protest against the BID. She said she was “willing to give (the program) one more year with stipulations,” citing the need to enhance the vitality of downtown Nevada City.

The BID program was launched in 2005. Downtown Grass Valley has a similar program. Both historic downtowns are competing against each other – as well as against businesses outside of the area – to attract local shoppers and tourists.

In other news last night:

• City Clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes came under fire at the meeting, with some residents voicing concerns she was still receiving her $100 monthly salary without appearing to perform her city clerk duties.

“My question is, what of those duties has she performed?” Wally Krill asked the council of Wilcox-Barnes’ efforts toward fulfilling her role as city clerk. “I propounded the question since June.”

Coffman said Wilcox-Barnes has been signing resolutions. Transcribing minutes at meetings is not legally required of the clerk, Cottrell said.

Staff Writer Jill Bauerle contributed to this story.

To reach Staff Writer Josh Singer, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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