City of Schenectady, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 10-11-1977 by Ord. No. 77-60. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 9-1 Legislative authority.

Under the authority granted to the City of Schenectady by Chapter 453 of the Laws of 1977, a special assessment district is created to be known as the "Downtown Special Assessment District."

§ 9-2 Description of district.

[Amended 10-23-1995 by Ord. No. 95-29; 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
The district is the area bounded by the rear property line of property on the northerly side of Union Street from Washington Avenue to Nott Terrace; the rear property line of property on the easterly side of Nott Terrace and Veeder Avenue from Union Street to the southerly boundary of State Street at its intersection with Veeder Avenue, then along the southerly boundary of State Street to its intersection with the rear property line of the parcel commonly known as 712-714 State Street (Parcel #49.25-1-2) along the rear property line of said parcel to its intersection with the northerly boundary of Albany Street, along the northerly boundary of Albany Street to its intersection with Veeder Avenue and along the easterly side of Veeder Avenue to Hamilton Street; the rear property line of property on the southerly side of Hamilton Street from Veeder Avenue to Clinton Street; the rear property line of property on the westerly side of Clinton Street from Hamilton Street to Broadway; the southern boundary of the Market Square parking lot from Broadway to Van Guysling Avenue; Van Guysling Avenue from the southern boundary of the Market Square parking lot to the southern boundary of the property known as "No. 2 Van Guysling Avenue"; the southern boundary of No. 2 Van Guysling Avenue from Van Guysling Avenue to the railroad right-of-way; the right-of-way from the southern boundary of No. 2 Van Guysling Avenue to Hamilton Street; from the end of Hamilton Street along a line as if Hamilton Street were extended across railroad property to the rear property line of property on the easterly side of Erie Boulevard; the rear property line on the easterly side of Erie Boulevard from the extended Hamilton Street line to Interstate 890; Interstate 890 from the rear property line of property on the easterly side of Erie Boulevard to Washington Avenue; Washington Avenue from Interstate 890 to Union Street.

§ 9-3 Purpose.

[Amended 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
The City may levy special assessments on property within the district for the following purposes:
A. 
Provision and coordination of parking lot and parking garage facilities within the special district, in order to secure maximum availability of public parking.
B. 
Construction and installation of landscaping, planting and parking areas.
C. 
Construction and operation of facilities such as: bus stop shelter; benches and street furniture; booths, kiosks, display cases and exhibits; signs, news and music facilities; fire hydrants; receptacles, canopies; pedestrian shelters; fountains; lighting and such other fixtures; equipment facilities; and appurtenances as may enhance the movement, safety, convenience and enjoyment of the public and be of economic benefit to surrounding properties.
D. 
Construction of pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and connections between buildings.
E. 
Construction of ramps, sidewalks, plazas and pedestrian malls.
F. 
Rehabilitation or removal of existing structures, as required.
G. 
Removal and relocation of utilities and vaults, as required.
H. 
Provision for additional maintenance or police personnel as required for the enjoyment and protection of the public.
I. 
Business promotion and development within the district.
J. 
Such other powers as may be necessary to carry out the improvement, maintenance and operation of the special district.

§ 9-4   Costs to be assessed. [1]

[Amended 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
A. 
The City shall assess property in the district for the following costs incurred by the City in carrying out the purposes of the district:
(1) 
Not more than 70% of the cost of acquisition of property within the district and not owned by the City or the Schenectady Urban Renewal Agency on the effective date of this chapter;
(2) 
Not more than 70% of the cost of capital improvements made after the effective date of this chapter to property within the district and used for parking; or other district purposes; and
(3) 
All costs of maintaining and operating district parking or other facilities within the district and all costs of carrying out other district operations, activities and functions.
B. 
Acquisitions of property and capital improvements are to be financed by borrowing. At the time of borrowing, the City Council shall determine what percentage of the cost of acquisitions or improvements is to be assessed but may change that percentage prospectively from time to time thereafter. Annual assessments for acquisitions or capital improvements are to be limited to the assessable share of the annual debt service for the acquisitions or improvements.
C. 
Annual assessments for operating costs are to be based on an operating budget for the district. Cost overruns are to be recouped by assessment in the year following; cost underruns are to be credited to the operating budget for the years following.
D. 
Annual assessments are to be payable in four installments, which shall be included on the quarterly City tax bill as a separate item.
[Amended 12-22-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-20]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Former § 9-4, Division of district, was repealed 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1.

§ 9-5 Annual assessments.

[Amended 10-11-1977 by Ord. No. 77-69; 2-4-1980 by Ord. No. 80-13; 10-30-1980 by Ord. No. 80-145; 11-25-1980 by Ord. No. 80-149; 12-7-1981 by Ord. No. 81-122; 8-30-1982 by Ord. No. 82-77; 6-2-1986 by L.L. No. 3-1986; 10-28-1991 by Ord. No. 91-44; 10-23-1995 by Ord. No. 95-29; 2-9-1998 by Ord. No. 98-1; 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
A. 
The City shall levy annual special assessments on each property within the district. The amount of the annual assessment for each property in the district is the proportionate share attributable to that property of the total cost of services and benefits provided within the district. The annual total cost benefit is the sum of the assessable debt service and the operating costs for all services and benefits provided within the district.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 2010-19, adopted 11-22-2010, authorized DSAD to levy an annual assessment based on a factor-based formula. For details, refer to Ord. No. 2010-19, which is on file in the City offices.
B. 
Benefit charges used for assessment.
(1) 
The annual assessment for each parcel within the district shall be the sum of the following benefit charges calculated with respect to each parcel:
(a) 
Parking benefit.
(b) 
Environmental enhancement benefit.
(c) 
Business development benefit.
(2) 
The total of the benefit charges for a parcel represents the proportionate share of the total cost of district services and benefits for that parcel.
C. 
Benefit assessments.
(1) 
Parking benefit. A parking benefit assessment shall be calculated for each parcel within the district with a building. The parking benefit assessment for each parcel is based upon each parcel's share of the total parking demand within the district. Parking demand for each parcel shall be determined by multiplying the gross floor area (GFA) for each parcel by a parking distance factor relative to each lot within the district to determine the adjusted floor area (AFA) for each parcel. The distance factor for each parcel shall be determined by measuring from the center of each parcel to the center of each district parking lot. The parking benefit assessment for each parcel shall be determined based upon the proportionate share which the adjusted floor area for each parcel represents as compared to the total adjusted floor area of all parcels within the district.
(2) 
Environment enhancement benefit. Each parcel within the district shall be assessed for its proportionate share of all costs relating to equipment, services, improvements and amenities designed to enhance and improve the environment and appearance of the district. The environment enhancement benefit assessed to each parcel shall be based upon a factor representing the proportionate share of all district costs for such activities attributed to each parcel. The assessment for each parcel shall be determined by multiplying the frontage use factor for each parcel by the service zone factor for each parcel.
(3) 
Business development benefit. Each parcel within the district shall be subject to an assessment for its proportionate share of all costs incurred for the promotion, development, enhancement, attraction and marketing of businesses and business activity within the district. The assessment for each parcel shall be determined based upon the percentage of the gross floor area (GFA) which that parcel represents as compared to the total gross floor area (GFA) of all parcels within the district.
D. 
Factors.
(1) 
Parking distance factor. If the distance from the building to a district parking lot is 800 feet or more, the distance factor is determined by subtracting that distance from 2,000 and dividing the remainder by 666.7. If the distance is less than 800 feet, the distance factor is determined by subtracting that distance from 1,143 and dividing the remainder by 114.3. In either case, the factor to be used is the quotient to the nearest tenth.
(2) 
Frontage use factor: the number of front feet which a subject parcel has on the street listed as the parcel's street address. The frontage use factor for a parcel with frontage on two streets will be the frontage as measured for the parcel's street address. The determination of a parcel's frontage shall be based upon the City of Schenectady's real property (RPS) assessment database.
(3) 
Service zone factor. Each parcel shall be assigned a service zone factor, which factor represents the frequency of services and level of amenities provided to parcels within specific zones of the district.
(a) 
The service zones within the district shall be designated as follows:
[1] 
Service Zone 1.
[2] 
Service Zone 2.
[3] 
Service Zone 3.
[4] 
Service Zone 4.
(b) 
The services and amenities to be provided in each zone shall be determined by the Downtown Special Assessment District Operations and Development Committee, and each parcel shall be assessed based upon the services provided in the zone where the parcel is located.
(4) 
Gross floor area factor. Gross floor area factor shall be the total number of square feet of a building or buildings located on a parcel. The determination of the gross floor area for each parcel shall be based upon the City of Schenectady's real property (RPS) assessment database.
E. 
Each parcel located within the Downtown Special Assessment District shall be subject to an annual minimum assessment not to exceed $450. The amount of the minimum assessment shall be determined annually by the Downtown Special Assessment District Operations and Development Committee and shall be levied by the City, whenever such minimum assessment shall exceed the assessment for any parcel as computed under the provisions of this chapter.
F. 
The owner of a building which is subject to a special assessment may, within 30 days after receiving notice of the assessment, appeal to the City Assessor or other official designated by the City, but only for the purpose of contesting the accuracy of the determination of the factors utilized in calculating the assessment for that parcel.
G. 
The following classes of property located within the district shall be exempt from special assessment: single-family residence (Class 210), two-family residence (Class 220), three-family residence (Class 230) and property owned by the City of Schenectady, and the United States of America.
H. 
The City Assessor or other official designated by the City may adopt rules and regulations to facilitate the preparation and administration of the annual assessment in the district. The City Assessor or other official designated by the City may utilize the other offices of the City government and the Downtown Special Assessment District in preparing the annual assessment.

§ 9-6 Operations and Development Committee.

[Amended 6-2-1986 by L.L. No. 3-1986; 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
A. 
In order to ensure the active participation of property owners within the district, there is established a Downtown Special Assessment District Operations and Development Committee, also to be known as the "Downtown Special Assessment District Board," consisting of nine members with staggered terms of three years. At least seven members of the Committee must be owners of assessable property within the district, or the agents of such owners. The Mayor shall appoint the members of the Committee with the consent of the City Council. In appointing members representing property owners, the Mayor shall give due regard to representation throughout the district. At the time of appointment of the first Committee, the Mayor shall designate which three members serve for one year, which three for two years and which for three years. A vacancy is to be filled in the same manner for the unexpired term.
B. 
The Committee shall designate one of its members to be Chairman and may provide for other officers. The Committee shall determine its rules of procedure, except that no substantive action may be taken except by the affirmative vote of five members of the Committee.
C. 
Members of the Committee serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for necessary and proper expenses if the operating budget for the district provides for such expenses. The Committee may incur such other expenses as may be budgeted for in the district operating budget. The City may provide such services as the Committee may require, either on a reimbursable basis through the district's operating budget or on a nonreimbursable basis.
D. 
The Committee may form a not-for-profit corporation under the authority of Section 11 of Chapter 453 of the Laws of 1977 and with the powers granted by that section.
E. 
The Committee shall prepare, annually, a recommended operating budget for district operations for the ensuing fiscal year, to be submitted to the Mayor not later than 120 days prior to the beginning of that fiscal year. The Committee may prepare a recommended capital budget for district capital improvements in the district to be submitted to the Mayor at least 30 days prior to submission of the recommended operating budget. The Committee may, from time to time, but at least semiannually, make other reports and recommendations to the Mayor concerning matters related to the district.
F. 
The Committee may from time to time appoint one or more advisory committees to consist of not more than five property and/or business owners within the district to advise the Committee on matters or issues affecting the operation of the district, including, but not limited to, making recommendations to fill vacancies on the Committee.