Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Picking up the tab: assessment districts to pay for Downtown San Diego Partnership's new website
The Downtown San Diego Partnership, the non-profit corporate booster that administers downtown assessment districts, will soon have a new and improved website.
The Partnership plans to spend $38,500 to $41,500 on the new site. The vast majority of the cost, about 75 percent, will be paid for by assessments from the Property and Business Improvement District, Business Improvement District, and the new Commercial Marketing District.
Once completed, the site will feature interactive maps, include all relevant social media platforms, and, according to the request for proposal, will display the “flavor and attitude” that encompasses the diversity of downtown cultures and ethnicities."
According to a staff report, 38 percent of that cost, approximately $15,000, will be paid by PBID assessments. The Downtown San Diego Partnership will pay 25 percent, and the remainder is to be split up between the Business Improvement District and the newly formed Commercial Marketing District.
"Taxpayers that approved the PBID in 2005 did not envision paying for a website with bells and whistles that is primarily for the Downtown Partnership," says Kathy Casey, a downtown resident who has been highly critical of the Downtown Partnership's management of the PBID.
Over the years Casey and some of her neighbors have accused Downtown Partnership execs of abusing their power and misusing PBID money . Examples of the abuse of power include hiring expensive consultants without the approval from the advisory committee and, most recently, using assessments to pay for the Downtown Partnership's new business plan.
This latest issue, says Casey, is just another example. "There's nothing wrong with the Clean and Safe website. Downtown Partnership's contract to administer the PBID expires in two years . It isn't soon enough."
I am currently waiting to hear back from representatives from the Downtown Partnership