Fondren BID meeting scheduled January 28


The Fondren Business Improvement District (BID) continues to take shape, with members planning to nominate and vote on a board of directors later this month.

The BID’s first owners meeting is slated for 10:30 a.m., January 28 at Duling Hall. At the meeting, BID members will vote on the district’s first board of directors.

Fondren was still accepting nominations for positions at press time and were invited to contact the Fondren Renaissance Foundation (FRF) for more information.

According to BID bylaws, the total number of officers will be determined by the first board once it’s in place.

“We know it will be more than three but not exceed 15. In the end, I suspect the number will reflect the number of nominations we receive,” said Rebecca Garrison, foundation executive director.

Board members will initially serve staggered terms, with one-third serving for a year, one-third serving for two years and one-third serving for three years.

“Starting in 2023, each board member will serve a three-year term,” Garrison explained.

Board members will be decided at the meeting. Bylaws define a quorum at the annual meeting as the “equal number of voting members attending,” Garrison explained.

All BID property interested in serving on the board are eligible. “The interim board was adamant that each property or entity paying into the BID have a voice and the ability to be on the governing board,” she said. “Inclusivity and transparency have been guiding principles.”

The interim board has been meeting since August.

Once the official board is in place, it will be the decision-making body for the BID. Day-to-day operations in the district will be overseen by the foundation.

The BID is bordered by Lakeland Drive at I-55 to the east, Oxford Avenue between Hartfield and Taylor Streets to the west, the intersection of North State Street and Old Canton Road to the south and Hartfield and Glenway Drive to the north.

Approximately 150 parcels are located in the district, of which about a third are tax-exempt.

The BID was approved by property owners in November 2018, and became official on January 1.

Under the rules, commercial property owners within the district pay a special assessment along with their annual property taxes, which will be used to enhance security, make public improvements, and market and promote the area.

The first assessments will be paid this year, according to BID property owner and supporter Mike Peters. He believes the district will begin receiving funds in April.

“When you pay taxes at the end of January, you’ll be paying the money to the county and they’ll be divvying it out,” he said.

Funds will go to the Historic Fondren Business District, Inc. The BID planning committee filed for tax-exempt status for the district last year.

Early estimates show the assessment will generate about $235,000 a year.

Landowners will pay eight cents on every square foot of land owned and eight cents on every square foot of building owned within the district.

For an owner with a 1,000-square-foot building and a 2,000-square foot parcel, the additional assessment would mean about $240 more a year in property taxes.

According to documents filed with the city, 50 percent of taxes collected will go toward public safety; 20 percent will go toward landscaping; economic development, marketing and wayfinding will each receive 2.5 percent; and 15 percent will go toward administrative costs.

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