The Downtown Lodi Business Partnership is on its way out. The Lodi City Council approved an ordinance to cut off the partnership's ability to levy taxes by shutting down the improvement district that got the group started in 1997.
"There were great hopes about what it would accomplish," said Councilman Larry Hansen. "There have been some great things, and some not so great. The original concept has not been totally abandoned."
The DLBP was created by the council, but the city only had the power to approve the organization's budget and its taxing power, according to city attorney Steve Schwabauer.
The group found itself in debt early this year, and requested the council shut them down because they did not have enough money to pay their debts and continue events.
Any leftover assets, like information on how to run the Parade of Lights or how to set up the Farmers Market, will go to Visit Lodi!, a tourism outfit, and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, along with all responsibility for the events themselves.
Any cash assets will be sequestered for one year to pay any outstanding bills, then divided among the businesses who were members of the group, according to Schwabauer.
Councilman Bob Johnson asked what would happen if an unanticipated cost turns up.
Schwabauer explained that the DLBP was private, and the city is not responsible for paying its debts. He plans to meet with city staff to determine what cash still exists from the group, but he said anything left over would be a very small amount.
"I want to make sure there isn't some pot of money we're going to distribute at the end of this. There are some very upset people," said Councilman Larry Hansen.
June Aaker, owner of Abrahamson Printing on Pine Street, said the city and council knew the partnership was planning to close, but the information was not made available. Money was collected for a full year of service, she said, but only one quarter was served.
"Am I to be penalized for paying on time, when they didn't serve a full year?" she said at the meeting. "When they assessed, they collected and they closed their doors."
Hansen acknowledged Aaker's frustration, and said the DLBP's efforts will continue through the Chamber of Commerce and other volunteer organizations.
"With new blood, new ideas and new approaches, I think we will seeing some better service to merchants in the Downtown area," said Hansen.
Fire Station 2 for sale
The council considered a bid from J-C Engineering to purchase the old Fire Station 2 on Lodi Avenue after the new station is built. The current fire station is overwhelmed by a leaky roof, extensive mold and vermin problems.
John Coughran, who owns the engineering firm, lives in Lodi and would like to move his business closer to home.
"I wouldn't use it for a firehouse, obviously. We wouldn't live in it like they are," he said.
The engineering company drills under rivers to place gas, phone and electric lines, and has had an office in Rio Vista since 1981.
Coughran said the place needs a lot of work, from eradicating mold to replacing the roof, but it would still be cheaper than building a new office.
Wayne Craig Realty submitted the bid to the city. The price was not released.
The bid was discussed in closed session, but no action was taken, according to Schwabauer.
The firefighters of Station 2 will move into a trailer in about a month while the new station on Cherokee Lane is built.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.