Oxford moves to renew BID agreement

OXFORD – By state law a Business Improvement District ends after five years, unless it is renewed. Oxford Mainstreet Inc., administers the BID in the downtown area, but now that the first five years of the district are nearing an end, a new agreement between OMI and the Borough needs to be approved.

During their Sept. 10 meeting, Oxford Borough Council approve moving forward with the agreement to renew the bid before it expires in December. Property owners and leasees in the BID will be notified, and have a chance to give their input at a public meeting, but only the 48 property owners in the district will be able to vote to agree to the continuing terms of the BID or not. If fewer than 40 percent of them vote no, Borough Council can renew the BID.

The BID raises $46,081 per year by assessing four mills on the properties that are within the district. OMI may exempt properties that are residential only from paying the tax. The money is collected by the borough along with regular taxes, but it then goes to OMI to be used for projects to enhance the business district.

The agreement between OMI and the borough for the administration of the BID should have been a part of the original formation of the BID, but it apparently was never done at that time. Now that the BID is up for renewal, the agreement is being put in place. Some material, such as the boundaries of the district are specific to Oxford, but for the most part, the document simply restates the law that allows for the creation of a BID.

Borough Council Member Randy Teel was the only one to vote against the motion, explaining that he opposes the fact that non-profit properties are not taxed. He also asked that Council receive monthly reports from OMI to see where BID funds are being used. “I would like to know what is done as it occurs,” he said.

In other business, Council approved several purchase orders related to the police department including $1,936 for uniform upgrades, and $24,889 for the purchase and installation of new video cameras for the four marked police cars. The money for the cameras is coming from the 2011 gift fund, where $26,000 was allotted for this use. The police cars have been without cameras since their previous VHS system cameras became outdated.

Another police expenditure was $6,536 for a new automated parking ticket system. The hand held device will be able to take photos of the parking violation, print out the ticket, and then download all the information into the borough computer system for tracking. “We’re moving forward from the hand count system we’ve been using for the past 50 years,” Police Chief John Slauch said. “At this point we really need to modernize that whole system.”

Council also voted to spend $13,290 from the gift fund for Freedom Software system for the codes department. The software quickly provides information on properties within the borough for the codes department to use. There will be an additional cost of $2,195 each year for updates.

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