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Property owners seek to create improvement district in downtown

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CHICO, Calif. - A group of property owners and stakeholders are working to create a Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) in Downtown Chico.

The PBID would generate $450,000 every year, which supporters say will to go towards making downtown safer and more beautiful.

If approved, the PBID would require each property owner in downtown to pay an additional fee each year. The fee would range from $150 to $18,000, depending on the size of the building.

That money would go towards cleaning services, which include beautification ambassadors who would maintain the streets and pedestrian areas. There would also be stewardship ambassadors working to support law enforcement, businesses and property owners in overall crime prevention downtown. Image enhancement and economic services would be included as well, which means improved lighting, kiosks and more.

Together, the employees would work 200-240 hours per week.

In mid-May, the city issued ballots to all 180 property owners in downtown. The owners have 45 days to vote. The PBID will only be incorporated with a majority vote. The end of the 45 days is July 5, at which time the city will count the ballots and hold a public hearing.

"Downtown needs to be safer and cleaner," said Tom DiGiovanni on the PBID steering committee. "I think there's a general consensus in the community that downtown needs to be cleaned up and there needs to be a greater feeling of welcoming and safety downtown."

If passed, the PBID will be implemented for a maximum of five years before needing renewal. The committee said over 100 towns and cities in the state of California have already incorporated this PBID, with a 90 percent renewal rate.

DiGiovanni said the city of Chico owns 24 properties downtown, so it would be included in this PBID. The committee has suggested the city pays for their portion of the fees using funds from parking meters.

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