Downtown Livingston will continue to benefit from the Business Improvement District funded through property taxes of the district – this will add to parks, maintenance and projects in the downtown district area.
Renewed for 10 years, LBID looks to downtown’s future
By Sam Klomhaus – Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
The Livingston Business Improvement District was recently renewed for a 10-year period, and the organization has much work to do in downtown Livingston.
The LBID is an organization made up of downtown Livingston property owners that works to enhance streetscapes, conduct maintenance and otherwise improve the downtown. It is funded through property taxes in the district.
LBID Executive Director Kris King said one of the organization’s main priorities is to work with different collaborators from around the area and across the country.
The LBID shares an executive director with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tourism Business Improvement District, but each organization has a different board, business model and funding source, although there is some overlap in board members and functions, King said.
What the LBID prioritizes is largely up to the business owners in the district, King said.
“I really want to listen carefully to what they need,” she said.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the LBID is working on sharing information about funding opportunities for small businesses with the district’s business owners, King said.
Because the LBID, CVB and TBID came together during the COVID-19 pandemic, King said, most of her work so far has been focused on the short-term effects of the pandemic. Now she’s starting to have time to plan for the long term.
Looking ahead, King said the LBID intends to work with other organizations to improve the infrastructure downtown, including bike and pedestrian safety and parking improvements.
King also floated the idea of adding “pocket parks” to the downtown space, which would make it easier for Livingston to host smaller events throughout the year.
One focus is adding events in the off seasons, King said, since summer has been pretty well taken care of.
Another focus is planning for the future in ways that solve issues that face small businesses, such as affordable housing for workers, King said.
“I think we can really get a lot done,” she said.
The Livingston City Commission voted Jan. 5 to renew the district for 10 years. There have been some concerns raised about the manner in which the city of Livingston went about renewing the LBID.
To extend the LBID until 2031, the city used a resolution of intent, which, according to City Attorney Courtney Lawellin, is a viable way to create or renew a Business Improvement District.
The resolution of intent is not how the district was originally created, Lawellin said. In 2011, the LBID was formed by the city after more than 60% of property owners within the district voted to ask the city to create the district, which Lawellin said basically left the city with no choice but to create the district.
For the renewal, Lawellin said, the LBID board approached her about the easiest way to renew the district, and she recommended the resolution of intent, which can be struck down if more than 50% of property owners in the district protest during the required protest period.
There was one protest from a business that had been converted into a residence, Lawellin said, and that residence was removed from the LBID.
The city isn’t limited on which of those two methods it can use to renew the district, Lawellin said.
“It’s not as common to do it this way, but it is permitted under the letter of the law,” King said.
King said she’s excited about all the things the LBID is going to do during the next 10 years, although she is being cautious about Livingston becoming too similar to Bozeman. That’s something she said she’d like to avoid.
“In Livingston there’s much to do, and much to love,” King said. “So onward.”