Business owners, city council renew contract with Downtown Fresno Partnership

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Downtown Fresno business owners and the Fresno City Council have decided to renew the contract with the Downtown Fresno Partnership, or PBID. The group works to revitalize downtown and bring more investments, businesses and people to the area.

The seasonal ice skating rink and Sudz in the City are just a few events brought to the community by the Downtown Fresno Partnership. Those businesses around the Fulton Mall and downtown pitch in for additional services like security, landscaping, maintenance and marketing, to make the area a more desirable place to live, work and play. Now, the focus of PBID is on fixing up what's already in Downtown Fresno.

"We're at a phase in downtown where people are supporting, now we need to see more investment in downtown, not just new business but new investments, which would be rehab of existing buildings or new structures from the ground up," said PBID President Aaron Blair.

Seventy-six percent of business owners voted Thursday to continue paying the assessment, in exchange for promoting the Downtown Fresno area. But not everyone was in favor of the property tax that's charged per square foot.

Tom Etheredge owns Auto Pawn of Fresno and pays $5,000 a year. Now, $20,000 later, he has seen little to show for it. "I have less police protection than I had before. They may be on the mall, I don't know, but my understanding is they are tearing the mall out. When we voted for this before, it was to improve the mall," said Etheredge.

Councilman Steve Brandau and Clint Olivier asked for two businesses, including the pawn shop, to be exempt from the fees since they are unsatisfied with the service that PBID is providing. The motion failed 5-2. In the end, councilmembers unanimously voted to renew the PBID contract, which will be in effect for the next seven years.
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