By Cameron Rasmusson
A draft report of public opinion regarding the Sandpoint Business Improvement District compiled by Boise State University students returned mixed results, according to Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton.
Designed to guide council decision-making, the BID survey results reveal a wide variety of opinions over the preferred fate of the often-controversial taxing district. According to Stapleton, the BID draft report provides a useful gauge on public opinion but no clear direction for council members to follow. Council members determined they need more refined information before deciding whether the BID stays or goes.
“Don’t expect us to make any decision in haste,” Mayor Shelby Rognstad told attendees who urged caution before dissolving the BID.
Altogether, 55 percent of survey respondents believe the BID should no longer exist, while 25 percent believe it should and 20 percent are undecided. However, those in favor of dissolving the BID are split on their reasons, with some wanting a different fee structure or system and others wanting the boundaries changed. The survey also showed strong support for certain BID services, including Christmas decorations and flower baskets.
The BID survey garnered a sluggish response from business owners. With 144 surveys successfully returned out of a total 471 mailed to businesses, the response failed to crack the 45-percent return rate denoting statistical significance. The survey is also still in its draft form, with a final report due to council members before their March 15 meeting.
Without a manager to administer services, the BID is currently managed by the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s contract with the city expires March 31, thus requiring city officials to either extend the contract or come up with an alternative solution for the BID before the month’s end.