City Council votes to boost BID budgets
Bay Ridge’s 5th Avenue, Montague Street among groups to benefit
Nine business improvement districts in New York City, including two in Brooklyn, will see a big boost in their annual operating budgets thanks to the City Council, which has voted to allow the groups to raise more cash to cover expenses.
The Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and the Montague Street BID are among those that stand to benefit from the action taken by the council on Jan. 19.
The legislation, which was requested by Mayor Bill de Blasio, was sponsored by Councilmembers Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Elmhurst), Margaret Chin (D-Lower Manhattan) and Deborah Rose (D-Staten Island).
“This is our first increase since 2006,” Bay Ridge BID President Jim Clark told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday, when asked for his reaction to the council vote to increase his group’s budget from $$338,000 to $427,000 a year.
Clark said his BID plans to use some of the new funding to host an outdoor “Taste of Fifth Avenue” street fair in June to promote the avenue’s restaurants. The BID is already working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to determine which blocks will be involved since the project will require closing streets to vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian plaza.
“We walked the avenue with DOT yesterday,” Clark said.
The BID, which was established in 2006, extends from 65th Street to 85th Street on Fifth Avenue, making it one of the largest of in Brooklyn.
Gentile said the increased funding will also be used to bolster sanitation and security services on Fifth Avenue. “The annual expenditure increase for the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue BID will have a profound impact on the improvement of the quality of life in our neighborhood,” he said.
The council voted to increase the Montague Street BID’s annual budget to $210,000
The other BIDs that are part of the council’s legislation and their new budgets are Village Alliance ($1.4 million), Bryant Park ($1.6 million), 14th Street-Union Square ($2.6 million), 180th Street ($78,000), Columbus Avenue ($458,800), Myrtle Avenue ($507,676) and Belmont Avenue ($440,000).
BIDs are public/private partnerships in which property owners in commercial areas of the city agree to pay an added assessment on their real estate taxes. The additional funds are then pooled together to pay for such amenities as holiday lights, supplemental sanitation services, private security and other things to make the area more inviting to shoppers, help store owners make money and improve the city’s economy.
Each BID has a district manager, who is a salaried employee, and a board of directors made up of volunteers.
There are more than 60 BIDs in New York City. The city’s Department of Small Business Services supervises the BIDs. The groups are established through a vote by the City Council and any increase in their annual budgets must win the council’s approval.
The city’s BIDs invest more than $120 million in programs and services in their neighborhoods each year, according to www.nyc.gov.