Local News

Rutland City’s Special Benefits District strongly supported in advisory vote

RUTLAND—An initiative of the Rutland Redevelopment Authority (RRA) and the Downtown Rutland Partnership (DRP) to poll constituents of the city’s downtown Special Benefits District (SBD) has been completed recently, showing strong support for continuing the district’s special assessment. The advisory vote’s final compilation showed over 80 percent in favor of continuing the special assessment through 2019. Revenues from the assessment have historically funded both the DRP’s annual work plan and partially supplemented the Redevelopment Authority’s operation costs.
Since the creation of the SBD, downtown property and business owners have regularly been asked to provide comment about the continuation of the assessment through an advisory vote. This year, Castleton Polling Institute was commissioned by the RRA to distribute and administer the vote as well as a short survey seeking feedback from the district’s constituents not only on the current effectiveness of services being provided by the RRA and the DRP, but also regarding their future aspirations and expectations.
“The RRA and DRP worked collaboratively to develop survey questions that would give each organization feedback and guidance to use moving forward,” said RRA board chairman David Cooper. “Downtown Rutland has seen great positive momentum in recent years and we are all committed to continuing this progress,” he added.
“We are very pleased with the strong support for continuing the special assessment, which will continue to fund the Partnership’s work towards marketing, special events, and other promotional maintenance and management activities, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the RRA,” said DRP Board Chairman Glenda Hawley.
The Partnership’s fiscal year 2017 work plan and budget will be formally presented to SBD constituents at the DRP’s annual meeting held at 8:30 a.m. on June 8 at CCV.
The City of Rutland Special Benefits District, which extends from State Street to the River Street bridge, was initially established by the RRA in 1990. Following the district’s inception, the DRP was established to provide representation and services to the downtown property and business owners who were paying the assessment. Historically, the RRA has entered into annual service contracts with the DRP in which the RRA approves the DRP’s annual work plan and budget and agrees to fund DRP activities accordingly. The annual work plan has evolved to include four main areas; marketing and promotion, special events, streetscape, and business development. The SBD is geographically identical with Rutland’s state-designated Downtown. The state designation allows the city to apply for specific tax credits and grant funding for projects and programs that would otherwise not be available.
With a street-level occupancy rate at over 90 percent and several exciting projects such as the redevelopment of the Evelyn Street corridor, the Center Street Marketplace rehabilitation, and upper floor student and market rate housing initiatives underway, Rutland’s downtown should continue to serve as the vibrant hub for the Rutland community.

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