The Pacific Palisades Business Improvement District (BID) board held its quarterly meeting on December 4 at the Chamber of Commerce office.
President Rick Lemmo (a Caruso executive) announced that emails had been requested by an outside source under the California Public Records Act. He reminded members they are under the Brown Act and are not to discuss or write about BID business outside of a meeting.
Reformation of the BID is underway. The BID was set up for five years, starting in 2016, and will expire in 2021.
In order to continue operating, the BID must survey all the property owners in the district, with 51 percent agreeing to go forward. (The voting is weighted, with owners of larger properties getting a larger vote.) Unreturned ballots are counted as a no.
If the survey is approved, a second vote only requires that 51 percent of the ballots are returned in favor of the BID.
Lemmo said that if the board members present would send in their survey vote, this would be enough to trigger a vote for reformation for all property owners. Caruso’s property occupies the greatest square footage after LAUSD’s Palisades Elementary. Lemmo has pointed out that Caruso supports the BID, even though Palisades Village uses none of BID’s services.
“If the survey does not go through, this BID will cease,” Lemmo said.
Board member Elliott Zorensky, who was participating via a conference call, said “Neither a draft of the reformation document, nor management plans were ever circulated to me.” He added that until he has read the documents he could not vote. “Why can’t drafts of documents be circulated among board members?”
Lemmo said he would check with Marco Li Mandri of New City America, who is handling the BID reformation.
The amount of assessment levied on property owners in the reformation document was changed from three to five percent. Zorensky was unaware of the change. “We did discuss the three to five percent,” Lemmo said. “Sorry if you were not at the meeting.”
Several reasons were given for the higher percentage. “There will be less participants,” Lemmo said, referring to the fact that LAUSD will not be participating. It was dropped by the BID for failure to pay the full amount it owed.
Manual Pardo of Village School pointed out that with the increase in the minimum wage, BID will need to pay more to Chrysalis, which performs sidewalk and curb cleaning services.
If approved, the new BID will have a 10-year lifespan.
According to the 2019 Budget Update, the total revenue for 2019 will be $140,736. This past year $119,980 was spent on “Clean and Beautiful” with street cleaning and power washing ($78,763) and tree trimming ($34,108) eating up most of the funds.
Under “Communication and Marketing,” $20,079 was spent, but most of it ($16,000) was spent on the BID reformation.
“Management and Administration” accounted for $17,874, which included taxes, legal fees, an audit and a finance manager. The BID paid the City $4,397 for administration costs.
David Peterson, who heads the ad hoc committee on parking meters, said there has been no movement on securing the meter money (about $50,000 dollars) that is supposed to be returned to Pacific Palisades via a City of L.A. pilot program.
In his February newsletter, Councilman Mike Bonin wrote: “The city recently approved a pilot program that is designed to keep the money spent at parking meters in the neighborhood where the money is generated. Under the pilot program, 15 percent of the revenue from parking meters in designated business improvement district areas will go to the BID, so decisions about how best to use money from meters to improve local transportation can be made by people in the neighborhood.
“I am very happy to report that Pacific Palisades will be one of three areas where this pilot program will be launched, meaning that a minimum of $50,000 – and likely more – will be available for the Pacific Palisades BID to spend on local mobility improvements, like street and sidewalk repairs, wayfinding signage, or on streetscape and community beautification efforts. The BID, which is made up of local businesses, will be responsible for engaging local stakeholders to decide which local improvements are best for Pacific Palisades.”
The BID board voted to meet every other month starting next February. Visit: palisadesbid.org.
(Editor’s note: In 2015, 29 out of 59 eligible ballots were cast. Twenty voted yes, and nine were opposed to the BID. Among those voting yes were the DWP and LAUSD. Caruso’s Palisades Village had not yet opened and did not cast a ballot. The weighted value of those that voted yes was $56,322.53 and accounted for 79.44 percent of ballots cast. The opposing votes had a weighted value of $14,580.46, which was 20.56 percent of ballots cast. One wonders what the tally would be if every property owner had returned a ballot.)