At an Oct. 7 Lake George Village public hearing, area developer and business owner John Carr talks of both the advantages and concerns associated with establishing a Business Improvement District in the village. Since this hearing, the BID proposal has amended to exclude owner-occupied residences and to lower its levy, reducing its impact on tax bills. The new proposal was approved by village trustees, and now headed to a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 4 at the Lake George firehouse.
In response to objections aired at a public hearing last month, a new proposal for a Business Improvement District has been drafted and is headed for a public hearing.
The village board endorsed the revised plan Monday Nov. 4 after hearing a presentation from the BID committee chairman Rob Gregor.
A public hearing on the new concept is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 4 at the Lake George firehouse on Ottawa St.
The new proposal calls for exempting all single-family homes, vacant residential land, and all owner-occupied residences — including multi-unit apartment buildings in which the owner resides — from paying an annual assessment to operate the district.
The change was enacted in response to local residents who were concerned about their taxes being raised, while businesses would be the primary beneficiaries from the district’s undertakings.
Another change in response to objections, is the reduction of the assessment to property owners from 61 cents to 54 cents per thousand assessed valuation onto village tax bills for properties in the district. This change would reduce the proposed new annual levy of about $306 for a property with a market value of $500,000, to $271, a level that village board members said would be more palatable to entrepreneurs.
The size of the district was also expanded to include the properties along both sides of Ottawa St., as well as the entire east side of Dieskau St. and southward past Sewell St., including eight major plots west of Canada St. and south of Sewell, extending west to the Sewell’s intersection with Gage Road. On the northern end of the village, the district is to extend a distance up Rte. 9 to encompass commercial properties there.
Gregor told the village board Nov. 4 that with the new expansion, the district’s revenue was boosted so it substantially offset the exclusion of owner-occupied residences, leaving the district with an annual budget of about $145,000 rather than the $150,000 under the first proposal.
In another concession to the past criticisms, the new proposal requires a super-majority of the property owners in the district to approve borrowing substantial sums of money.
That first plan prompted criticism at the Oct. 7 hearing, with business owners and residents of the district raising concerns about the funding, budget, and powers of such a district in the village, and whether it would create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy as well as add substantially to property owners’ tax bills.
In making a motion to endorse the BID plan, Village Board member John Root said the plan was now viable.
“You’ve answered all the objections heard at the public hearing,” he told Gregor before the board voted unanimously to endorse the plan and present it to the public.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais has said the BID would provide a new public entity to improve the local streetscape, market the village to the public, promote local special events and spur improvement of store facades.
While the village board has the power to establish the district, the public is able to override their decision by collecting signatures on a petition to stop it from being formed. If either 51 percent of the individual property owners oppose a proposed BID, or a number of votes that represent 51 percent of the assessed property value, the proposal is defeated.