Merchants in Fillmore's Central Avenue district are celebrating downtown renovations this weekend, but the manager of the city's unofficial community center complains that the redevelopment helped cause his $15,000-a-year deficit.
The board of the Fillmore-Piru Memorial Building--which houses service groups, public forums and school district functions--has placed Measure D on the ballot Nov. 6 to raise money. Voters are being asked to approve a $10 assessment per household.
The rehabilitation includes sidewalks, planters, street lights, landscaping and new storefronts. The money for the project comes from property taxes, which have been funneled to the Redevelopment Agency since 1981. Before, taxes went to the Memorial District, school district and county agencies.
In nine years, redevelopment has cost the Memorial District about $45,000, building manager Jon Holley said.
"I think that redevelopment is a good thing. It's needed," Holley said. "But I think the way it is funded is unfair."
The Memorial District has received a onetime grant of $50,000 from the Redevelopment Agency.
The grant will be used to replace an air-conditioning unit, landscape the grounds and fill in holes in this year's operating budget, but will not avert a financial crisis next year, Holley said.
He said operating costs are rising with inflation and increased demands on the facility. But tax revenues and rental fees have fallen short of expenses. As the building ages, repairs to the plumbing and electrical systems, and the hardwood floors are needed, he said.
Measure D needs approval of two-thirds of the voters to pass. If it fails, Holley said, the district's five-member board plans to curtail services and use its budget for repairs.