2019-10-25 13:52:30

WAUPUN — Waupun City Council approved an updated 2020 Business Improvement District Operational Plan Tuesday night, citing its use as an economic driver and a tool for downtown revitalization.

Waupun has had a downtown BID since the 1980s. The purpose of a business improvement district is to create a fund for downtown improvements, generated by an assessment of $1.50 per thousand dollars of property value paid by businesses in the district. The assessment will generate $17,288 in 2020.

The board — consisting of six property owners and four at-large members — decides how the funds are used. Valid uses include facade improvement grants, administrative costs, small business recruitment and development and other initiatives. The principle behind it is the contributions benefit everyone involved, and that a flourishing downtown depends on a cooperative effort of all those involved.

“To have those shared goals puts less burden on the city budget, so I think it’s a really huge positive that is coming off elective contributions through special assessment,” said City Administrator/Director of Economic Development Kathy Schlieve.

A Community Development Authority also is in place, offering matching dollars for other, non-BID financed, improvements.

“If the business owners are willing to continue to pay it and see value for what’s going back into the business, there’s no way the city would want to get out of it,” said City Attorney Daniel Vande Zande. “It’s actually helping the city along, saving tax dollars.”

“We’re trying to increase our collective impact on the downtown because it is the heartbeat of the city,” said Schlieve. “Even customers and businesses in the industrial park care that we have a vibrant downtown because it matters in how we recruit people to live here.”

Board members serve three-year terms. Current board members include Krista Bishop, Gary DeJager, Jack Dunham, Jan Harmsen, John Karsten, Rich Matravers, Tyler Schulz, Teresa Ruch, John Theune and Al Verhage.

The plan was approved by a unanimous vote. It is subject to annual review.

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