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Executives at Downtown San Diego Partnership are looking to implement a new business plan, judging by two recent payments to a business consultant totaling $11,758. According to financial reports, the payments went toward "consultant fees and reimbursement of expenses to undertake research, group facilitation and plan development for a Downtown Partnership Restructuring Business Plan."

The problem for some downtown residents; the Downtown Partnership is paying for the work with tax revenues from the Property and Business Improvement District.

And while consultants are often a useful resource, some residents are accusing the Downtown Partnership of spending taxpayer money with little or no regard.

"If the Downtown Partnership wishes to restructure their business plan, how can they shift these expenses to the taxpayers?" asks downtown resident Kathy Casey in a letter she sent to city councilmembers.

"It is my understanding that PBID funds are to be used for the direct benefit of the taxpayers within the PBID district, not to supplement the Downtown Partnership.

This isn't the first financial complaint that residents have had about the Property and Business Improvement District. In April 2010, I wrote an article about the nearly $300,000 that the city overcharged residents on their annual assessments. Residents have yet to receive refunds.

And then, last month I wrote about the Downtown Partnership's decision to pay maintenance-assessment district guru Marco Li Mandri $10,000 per month to serve as a consultant. The expense is in addition to the $1.6 million the district budgeted for salaries in 2012.

And for that reason, residents such as Casey hope councilmembers will step in and address alleged misallocations of taxpayer funds. But, Casey isn't holding her breath.

"I would be surprised if they do anything," writes Casey in an email. "As a citizen I want my streets to be clean and safe. The Downtown Partnership is paid well for their management of the Clean and Safe Program (PBID) and should stick to what Clean and Safe was set up to do."


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