This morning, the Council adopted a policy on creating new Self-Managed Special Service Districts in Minneapolis. This will allow business districts to form special service districts that they manage and control, if they want. My office worked to ensure that this policy works as well as possible for existing neighborhood business associations that may want to manage special service districts.
The Council voted to create two governance models, at the request of business stakeholders. One allows a Downtown Improvement District-style “Management Entity” that decides on budgets, services to be provided, and assessment models, while also providing services. The other model would create a new City Advisory Board for the district that decides on budgets, services, and assessment models, and allow an existing nonprofit to provide the services and day-to-day management.
I offered a successful amendment to clarify that there could be some overlap between the Advisory Board and the Service Provider, after hearing concerns from West Bank stakeholders. The original staff recommendation was that no members of the Advisory Board could serve on the Service Provider board, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But staff had already ensured that there could be no financial conflict of interest, because neither the Advisory Board nor the Service Provider board members can be paid for their service, per the policy. My amendment was to allow no more than 50% of the Advisory Board to be made up of Service Provider board members.
This work was done very quickly by a group of City staff, and I want to thank them individually: Ben Hecker, Andy Carlson, Mike Kennedy and their consultant Michael McLaughlin. I also want to thank the West Bank Business Association, Lake Street Council, Cedar Riverside Partnership and Carol Becker, among other stakeholders, for participating in the public process to develop this policy.