Santa Barbara Council Renews Downtown and Old Town Business Assessments

Release Date: February 26,2019

Fees paid by businesses in the two areas generate approximately $287,000 to fund marketing and promotional activities

State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
Businesses on State Street in Santa Barbara in pay an assessment to the Downtown Business District. The city council on Tuesday renewed fees that generate approximately $287,000 to fund marketing and promotional activities. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)
 

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 on Tuesday to renew assessments for the Downtown and Old Town Business Improvement Districts.

Councilman Randy Rowse recused himself because he owns The Paradise Cafe in the Downtown District. 

The Downtown and Old Town Business Improvement District revenues are projected to generate approximately $287,000 to fund marketing and promotional activities for downtown businesses.

Planned marketing and promotional activities include the Downtown Host program, the First Thursday monthly event, the holiday parade, State Street holiday décor, the Live Art and Wine Tour, and promotion of the downtown area on the web and on social media. 

"This is a particularly critical time when we are trying to revitalize downtown," Rowse said.

The Downtown Business Improvement District serves businesses between Chapala and Anacapa streets, from Ortega Street north to Micheltorena Street.

The Old Town Improvement District serves businesses between Chapala and Anacapa Streets, from Gutierrez Street north to Ortega Street.

This is the 50th year of operations for the two improvement districts, which are managed by Downtown Santa Barbara.

Assessment fees for the businesses range from $50 to $600 annually, depending on the location of the business, and the cost of the business license. 

The city received 64 protests from 1,240 businesses in the Downtown District and 17 protests from the 243 businesses in the Old Town District.

The city needs at least 50 percent approval from assessed businesses to approve the district. 

"We're excited about the year ahead," said Anne Peterson, Downtown Santa Barbara's treasurer. "We're excited about serving as a productive partner in the big conversations we are having downtown."

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com.

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