What is the Downtown Development Commission?

The Downtown Development Commission (DDC) is a thirteen member Commission composed of not less than nine members from among those property owners and businesses which are located within the Primary Taxing District, three members from the Secondary Taxing District and an additional member appointed from the general population of the City.

Additional member must be a resident of the City of Cumberland and may be a property owner within the Special Taxing District.

The DDC is comprised of 13 members with 3-year terms

  • Primary District – 9 members
  • Secondary District – 3 members
  • Community Representative – 1 member (must be a City Resident)

What are the primary duties of the DDC?

  • Prepare and recommend to the Mayor and City Council a comprehensive plan for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Downtown Cumberland Mall
  • Prepare and recommend changes in the plan or any part thereof
  • Recommend policy rules and regulations for orderly development, operation, use, maintenance, and regulation of the Downtown Cumberland Mall
  • Conduct studies and submit reports containing specific recommendations with regard to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, parking, and special activities and events with the Cumberland City Center
  • Seek advice, counsel and active participation of City officials
  • Arrange and conduct downtown Mall publicity
  • Prepare an annual budget
  • Prepare and submit to the Mayor and City Council a report of finances and administrative activities at the end of the fiscal year

Powers and Duties of the DDC & Mayor and City Council

  • The Maryland Code provides authority for a municipality to create “Special Taxing Districts” to pay for bonds and the maintenance and operating costs of pedestrian malls; among other things such as parking facilities
  • The City created the Special Taxing District by adopting Charter Amendment Resolution Section 236
  • The Mayor and City Council further amended the City Charter by creating, in Section 237, The Downtown Development Commission

Special Taxing District

The Special Taxing District was established in 1977 to pay down the bond issue created to construct and maintain the pedestrian Mall. (Charter Amendment Resolution #69)

In 1981, soon after the Mall was completed, the DDC was created and guidelines for the activities of this commission were established with funding to be provided by the special tax. (Charter Amendment Resolution #80)

Current Taxing Guidelines

Building owners pay an annual ad valorum tax as follows:

Primary District: $.456 per $100 of assessed value

Secondary District: $.268 per $100 of assessed value

Portions of the building used as the building owners primary residence are exempt from the tax, but application must be made to and granted by the Mayor and City Council

What is the primary objective of the Special Tax?

It should be noted that after the bond was paid off in 2012, it was intended that the special tax continues to be paid by property owners in the Special Taxing District. Currently, the district generates approximately $190,000 in special tax annually.

The Special Tax annually pays for:

  • Maintenance and beautification of the Downtown Mall
  • Snow removal
  • Downtown Mall marketing and events
  • Downtown Managers salaries
  • Maintenance Crew salaries
  • Partial salaries of City Secretary and Community Development Manager
  • One half of the Security Officers salaries (protection of the Mall and downtown only)

Powers and Duties of the DDC

  • The DDC is to present a quarterly statement of funds spent and prepare and propose a budget to Mayor and City Council.
  • “In no event shall the Mayor and City Council be obligated to appropriate any general funds for use by the DDC for the operation and maintenance of the mall”
  • The DDC is given the power to promulgate rules and regulations governing the uses of the “Cumberland Mall” and to “establish fee and rental schedules”.
  • The DDC can sponsor events and promote and encourage usage of the Mall by the general public and make the Mall available to other persons or groups upon terms and conditions it deems appropriate.
  • The DDC has the authority to appoint, hire, employ, or engage assistants, aides, employees, and advisors deemed necessary for their performance and maintenance and operation of the Mall and to hire architects, consultants, accountants, and attorneys when necessary.
  • The DDC has the power and authority to enter into contracts in its own name if the purpose of the contract is to develop, establish, alter, enlarge, etc., the Mall and related facilities. The contract cannot obligate payment in excess of the funds on hand.
  • The DDC is specifically charged with conducting studies and submitting reports to the Mayor and City Council with regard to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, parking, and special activities and events on or within the Mall.

Mayor and Council Duties
The Mayor and City Council are charged with maintaining normal municipal services within the Special Taxing District including:

  • Police and Fire protection
  • Street lighting
  • Trash collection
  • Street maintenance and snow removal of the streets passing through the Mall
  • All other repairs to, maintenance, or upkeep of the facilities and improvements are the responsibility of the DDC.

 

Member District Term
Sandi Saville (Chair) Primary July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2018
Larry Jackson Primary July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2018
David Love Primary January 19, 2016 – July 31, 2019
Doug Schwab Primary July 1, 2015 – July 18, 2018
Daniel Taylor-Neumann Primary July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2018
VACANT Primary
David Romero Primary December 16, 2014 – December 16, 2017
Paige McFarland Primary March 3, 2015 – March 3, 2018
Nathan Price Primary October 10, 2014 – October 10, 2017
Ed Huber Secondary July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2018
Dan Bowser Secondary January 19, 2016 – July 31, 2019
Rhiannon Morgret Secondary January 19, 2016 – July 31, 2019
Renee Butler Citizen-at-Large January 19, 2016 – July 31, 2017
Brian Grim Council Representative
Non-voting member

 

When does the DDC meet?

The DDC meets the second Thursday of each month at 8:45 a.m. in City Hall.