Northampton BID still discussing renewal vote; other communities moving ahead
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Mike Carr (left) and Tom Willard (right) of the Northampton Business Improvement District work as a team to clean the sidewalk downtown. Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — Though business improvement districts in other communities have taken steps to meet the requirements of a new state law that forces them to expand, the Northampton BID has yet to decide when it will follow suit.
The new law requires property owners who initially chose not to join the BID four years ago to become members and pay the additional tax after district members pass a renewal vote.
“We’re still trying to build consensus as to the timing of (the vote),” Executive Director Daniel Yacuzzo said.
Meantime, the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District voted last week to renew its organization by a vote of 117-7. The BID could have voted to disband, but in voting to continue, it essentially signed onto the expansion.
Other BIDs that have taken similar votes in recent months, including in Springfield last November (by a vote of 24-2) and Hyannis in March (by a vote of 54-7).
The Northampton BID has sparked controversy since its formation, something that flummoxes Yacuzzo.
“BIDs have incredible support in other communities and they aren’t doing anything more per dollar than we are doing here,” Yacuzzo said.
The BID board of directors is still discussing several scenarios, including a potential new fee structure that would lower the assessment paid by property owners and whether to reduce the size of the district. Yacuzzo is not certain if a proposal to redraw the district’s boundaries will win support among members.
37 years and counting
By the time his most recent term on the Conservation Commission expires in 2016, C. Mason Maronn will have served for four straight decades on that one city board.
The council appointed Mason, a 37-year veteran of the commission, to his 13th consecutive three-year term at its meeting last week.
Though it hasn’t been checked officially, most agree Mason has to hold some sort of record.
“I believe that’s the longest-serving, and I think that deserves special recognition,” said Ward 2 City Councilor Paul D. Spector, a member of the council’s Appointments and Evaluations Committee.
Mayor to talk politics
Mayor David J. Narkewicz and 16 political scientists from around the world will discuss politics in a question-and-answer session at City Hall this week. The session is part of an academic program run by the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The U.S. Institute on American Politics and Political Thought, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, includes discussions with practicing politicians and policymakers as well as lecture and seminar instruction.
“Constituting America” is the program’s current area of study. The program brings more than a dozen international professors to the UMass Amherst campus each summer for the six-week course about American politics and political development.
The discussion Thursday is scheduled for 1 p.m. in hearing room at Northampton City Hall, 210 Main St.
NCTV honored nationally
Northampton Community Television is getting national props for the second straight year.
The Alliance for Community Media recently announced its 2013 Hometown Media Award winners, a contest that drew more than 800 entries. The awards recognize the best community media programming of 2012 and include student, independent producer and access center professional categories.
NCTV was honored for the second straight year in the category of best website for access centers with a budget under $300,000 for its citizen journalism project, Paradise City Press, and its associated website, paradisecitypress.org.
A year ago, the station was recognized for its main website, northamptontv.org.