MoCo may be getting Business Improvement Districts soon
Montgomery County may be getting Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) as early as this fall thanks to legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly.
The local bill, introduced by Senator Will Smith (D-20) and co-sponsored by Senator Brian Feldman (D-15), as well as over a dozen MoCo Delegates, will aid in facilitating the creation of BIDs by altering the approval requirements to create a BID in the County.
BIDs provide local property owners an opportunity to come together as a cohesive unit to promote the development of their community into a vibrant place to work, live, and play. They are privately directed and publicly sanctioned non-profit entities with a Board of Directors and Executive Director, which are often funded primarily through a a self-imposed BID tax, but can draw upon other private and public funding sources.
A typical BID budget includes services that that are a supplement to those already provided by the government and are essential for revitalizing struggling urban areas, such as street cleaning, providing security, making capital improvements, construction of pedestrian and streetscape enhancements, additional events and marketing the area.
BIDs began to appear in the United States in the 1970s and allow property owners to, in effect, tax themselves to create a sense of place where it is desperately lacking. Over the last few decades, BIDs have swept across the nation. Currently, there are over 1,000 BIDs in the U.S. with 10 BIDs in Washington, D.C., 3 in northern Virginia, and over 70 in New York City. However, there are no BIDs in Maryland even though the enabling legislation to create a BID is in place.
This legislation alters the number of signatures needed for property owners to petition their local county or municipal corporation to create a BID to 51% of individual property owners AND 51% of the assessed value within the proposed district. Additionally, the bill allows multi-family residential real property, condos, and co-ops to benefit from the services a BID provides.
The creation of BIDs would give Montgomery County a real mechanism to compete with D.C and Virginia in terms of economic development, marketing and placemaking.
Steve Silverman, Founder/CEO of SSGovRelations, LLC, worked with Senator Smith and the entire Montgomery County Delegation to Annapolis, as well as the MoCo Council and Executive, over the past two-plus years to lay the groundwork for the passage of this important legislation.
The BIDs bill was approved by the Montgomery County House and Senate Delegations before being passed the House of Delegates with a vote of 130-2 and the Senate unanimously. Property owners in all communities in MoCo will have the ability to petition the County Council and Executive to create a BID effective October 1, 2017. (SSGovRelations)