MUSKEGON, MI – Downtown Muskegon business owners would pay between $300 and $3,000 in an annual special assessment that is being recommended to the city commission.
The Downtown Muskegon Business Improvement District board is recommending that properties zoned or used for office, retail or similar enterprises pay 4 cents per square foot while those zoned or used for industrial, automotive or manufacturing purposes pay 1 cent per square foot. The annual assessments are calculated on lot size.
The Muskegon City Commission is expected to consider the recommendation in June, said Jonathan Seyferth, executive director of Downtown Muskegon Now.
The purpose of the assessment is to pay for upkeep, marketing and promotion of the downtown, including flower planters, promotional banners, landscaping, directional signs, advertising and snow removal.
Those subject to the assessments are located in the Business Improvement District that includes a large portion of downtown from Pine Street to Ninth Street, including the Third Street business corridor.
The city commission unanimously approved the formation of the district in March. It includes roughly 130 commercial and industrial pieces of property subject to the assessment. Another 26 properties are exempt because they are owned by churches, government, educational institutions and registered nonprofit organizations, according to the city. Residential property is also exempt.
For the rest of this year, there would be a half-year assessment, due in October. Full year assessments, beginning in 2016, would be billed twice per year, Seyferth said.
Property owners would pay a minimum of $300 and maximum of $3,000 per year.
The assessment would bring an estimated $130,000 per year, and would provide for consistent improvements throughout the downtown area, Seyferth said. Currently Downtown Muskegon Now uses city funds, along with small contributions from some core property owners, to provide landscaping and snow removal in a portion of downtown. New banners were erected along a portion of West Western Avenue on Friday, May 22.
“As a downtown director, I get questions from business owners who say … ‘Why do you get some things done in one part of downtown but not another,'” Seyferth said.
Banners, flower pots and landscaping would be extended along West Western from Terrace Street to Seventh and along the Third Street corridor over the next couple of summers and then along Terrace and Pine streets, he said.
“The soft, warm, fuzzy things you see in downtowns we haven’t been able to do we’ll be able to do now,” Seyferth said.