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Downtown Pomona businesses approve improvement district tax

Business owners in downtown Pomona have agreed to pay more in property taxes. KPCC's Steven Cuevas says the extra money will fund services that the city can’t provide.

Steven Cuevas: In the last few years, downtown Pomona has been transformed from a graffiti-scarred “no man’s land” into a vibrant destination for dining, shopping, live music and street fairs. Much of the credit goes to the “P-BID”, the Property and Business Improvement District. It pays for more police patrols, cultural events and other services.

David Armstrong owns a pair of downtown properties. He voted to renew the P-BID. But he wants the city to govern the maintenance and cleanup of downtown so the P-BID isn’t picking up the tab.

David Armstrong: It’s really up to the City Council to support the P-BID with laws and ordinances that will benefit everybody.

Cuevas: Armstrong says the fees are spurring downtown Pomona’s revitalization.

Armstrong: If we have an attractive area for people to come into, and it’s well promoted, people will come.

Cuevas: But business owner Craig Olson disagrees. He runs a storage company downtown. He pays around 19,000 dollars a year in business improvement fees, but he says they don’t benefit a business like his. Olson thinks he should be able to opt out of the tax.

Craig Olson: I would certainly support something that directly benefited us. It doesn’t benefit us at all. What I’ve asked the City Council to do tonight is to carve us out.

Cuevas: The Property and Business Improvement District will be in place for the next 10 years. It’s expected to generate more than $700,000 in fees in its first year. Much of that money is earmarked for beefed up security.