But merchants first had to form a business improvement district
and agree to a $300 annual fee. The money would be used to match
$15,000 the city has been giving the group to beautify the area and
make it more inviting to shoppers. That met with opposition from some
merchants who wanted a smaller fee, a move City Council members
supported Tuesday as they agreed to give the merchants $15,000
although they hadn't raised enough to match it.
Without the matching money from the business improvement district,
Cianfrini said he was told the city would reduce its funding to Adams
"We were aggressively counseled to go for the maximum amount of
$300 in order to keep the current $15,000," Cianfrini said in a
letter to the City Council.
But when City Council members said they would still give the group
the maximum funding, despite the owners agreeing to a $120 yearly
assessment, Cianfrini decided to step down.
"We were under [the city's] direction and had been pounding the
business owners for $300. Now, there is a sense of betrayal. We were
told to do one thing, and then we had the rug pulled from underneath
us. That's why my feathers are ruffled," Cianfrini said.
City officials were just following the directions of the City
Council when telling the merchants they needed to raise $15,000 a
year, said Jeanne Armstrong, director of development services.
City Council members had wanted Adams Square merchants to match
the $15,000, Mayor Bob Yousefian said.
The city's contribution will be reduced, however, if the merchants
can't match the $15,000 in the future.
"I don't see that the City Council will continue shelling out this
kind of money forever. We will fund them for maybe next year, but
after that, future city councils will have to come up with their own
conclusions," Yousefian said.
Cianfrini said Bob Gallegos, owner of Dr. Bob's Auto Repair,
spearheaded the drive to lower the annual business improvement
district fee and convinced more than half of the merchants to oppose
the $300 price.
"We needed to start off small and set up the business improvement
district. Somewhere along the line we will have to match those funds,
but why did we have to start so high?" Gallegos said.
The City Council on Tuesday considered forming the Adams Square
Business Improvement District and assessing the $120 annual fee. City
Council members expect to approve both at next week's meeting.