South District SSMID: Updates
A Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) is a tool for property owners in a geographic area to fund improvements and services beyond basic municipal services. The goals of creating a SSMID are to leverage private investment in order to spur economic development and stimulate growth, enhance livability and infrastructure, and facilitate community-building activities through marketing, advocacy, communications, and event planning.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS SDNA BROCHURE
How does a SSMID work?
Through a campaign championed by property owners, business owners and neighborhood stakeholders, a voluntary tax levy is imposed on all commercial, industrial, and multi-residential properties eligible by State statute within the designated SSMID. This revenue is collected and spent within the SSMID to leverage private investment beyond basic municipal services. Examples include: branding and wayfinding, marketing support, retail recruitment and retention, pedestrian connections, special projects, events, or other beatification and that bolsters the SSMID’s economic viability and highlights its unique identity from other commercial areas in the region.
Why do we need a SSMID?
Currently, the Pepperwood Plaza area has several underutilized properties and aging buildings with several large central parking lots. Without a larger vision, this area may redevelop over time piecemeal without having the benefit of larger investments that could be gathered with additional collaboration. It is also adjacent to a densely populated neighborhood where the non-motorized connection points deter visitation to this commercial area. A SSMID could support a more unified neighborhood development pattern, give South District neighborhood access, support new business opportunities, establish a neighborhood civic opportunity, and improve the valuation of the Pepperwood Plaza and the entire South District. The opportunity is too great to pass up.
How will those living in the area benefit from a SSMID?
Those living within a SSMID area will feel the effects of a SSMID through a wider spectrum of business offerings, cleaner and even better maintained public spaces, and more choices for living, working, dining, shopping, and cultural activities. SSMIDs in other areas of Iowa have increased the quality of life for the entire community.
Why aren’t these responsibilities assumed by traditional economic development organizations or the City itself?
A commercial area with a civic heart deserves to have an organization working on these activities as its sole focus. It requires an organization with enough sustainable resources to create a positive, lasting impact. Although other organizations are involved with important economic development efforts for Johnson County, they do not have a focus on this area specifically. Nor do they provide the functions of a business manager for a larger commercial environment.
How much is the SSMID levy rate?
The SSMID levy is set by petitioners. The proposed rate is $5 per $1,000 assessed value for the first five years (2021 – 2025).
Who pays the SSMID levy?
Commercial, industrial, and non-residential property owners pay the SSMID levy, including retail, offices and apartment buildings. Property owners often pass down property taxes within a triple net lease and as such, businesses and other entities leasing from these properties pay into the SSMID. The petition exempts properties classified as Residential and may also exempt Non Profits on a case by case basis under Iowa’s tax law. These exempt properties would NOT pay into the SSMID levy.
NEWS FROM THE SSMID BOARD:
Revenues collected will be managed by a newly created non-profit organization with paid staff, including an Executive Director overseen by a Board of Directors. Voting Board membership includes:
- 2 representatives from one of the SSMID's most valuable properties
- 2 representatives from one of the SSMID's least valuable properties
- 2 business owners managing leased space over 3,000 square feet
- 2 business owners managing leased space less than 3,000 square feet
- 2 residents of the South District Neighborhood Association
- 1 member from the Pepperwood Plaza Parking Assocation
- Up to 4 other stakeholders from the area covered by the SSMID
Voting members of the Board were formally appointed in a meeting at MidwestOne Bank on Monday, April 11, 2022 by a large group that included representatives from Southgate Development, the South District Neighborhood Association, the Multicultural Development Center of Iowa, and MidwestOne Bank. Articles of Incorporation as a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation were discussed, approved and signed. Bylaws were reviewed and approved and officers elected.
As more information becomes available, it will be visible here!
Resource Links on SSMIDs for Further Information:
Self-Supported Municipal Improvement Districts: A Toolkit for Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities; 2013)
Spencer Main Street SSMID (Spencer, Iowa)
Downtown Davenport Partnership SSMID (Davenport, Iowa)
Czech Village / New Bohemia SSMID (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)