Downtown Policy Perspectives

The Downtown Partnership advocates for its stakeholders at all levels of government, and there has been a flurry of activity of note at City Hall and at the State Capitol on which DSP took positions.

Now That’s Entertainment!  Last week, the Sacramento City Council revised the entertainment permitting (e-permitting) process to improve downtown safety while streamlining the process and saving permit holders money.
Under the new regulations, which DSP supported, all facilities offering activities comparable to nightclubs must be permitted, including those that the city owns and leases to private entities.  This change places all businesses on equal footing and allows greater review of downtown entertainment operations.  At the same time, the city is rewarding good operators by authorizing the city manager to waive each two-year renewal fee (presently $1331) for those without significant permitting or code violations.

The Partnership is grateful to Tina Lee-Voigt, who served as lead staff for the City.

Streetcar Deadline – The Partnership continues to assist the effort to advance the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar project, which will feature 3.3 miles of in-ground trackconnecting West Sacramento to Sacramento and many key destinations in Downtown and Midtown.

The total project construction cost is $150 million, but the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is expected to contribute half – if local sources (defined as funds from any non-federal source, including state, county, city, non-profit, or private sector dollars) can raise the balance.

Because the project touches West Sacramento and Sacramento, last year, the Streetcar Policy Steering Committee – a governing body of elected and business representatives from both cities – voted to share the financial obligation pro rata based on how many miles would be built on each side of the river.  Because only 1/3 of the total track will be built in
West Sacramento, its pro rata share was set at $25 million.  West Sacramento funded its contribution through a dedicated general sales tax.

For Sacramento’s portion ($50 million), discussion has centered to date on securing $20 million in commitments from the city, county, and state and $30 million from the private sector, which would be raised through a community facilities (a/k/a Mello-Roos) district.  Under this approach, non-exempt property owners located within three blocks of the streetcar line would pay an annual assessment.

The specific formula for determining what each property owner would contribute is still in development, but a general concept would have each owner paying a fee that would combine three elements:  (1) how close to the line the property is; (2) how big the land parcel is; and (3) how many square feet of developed space is on the land.

If you would like more information on the streetcar or any of the other items, please connect with Chris Worden, Senior Policy & Advocacy Manager, at [email protected], 916-442-8575.