Create a Thriving Business District
FORMING A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) provides a mechanism for businesses, property owners or a combination to collectively obtain the improvements they want to see in their district. There are currently 6 BIA districts in the city, each with a unique set of goals and programs:
The BIA funds can be used for parking, joint marketing, cleanup and maintenance, security, special events, beautification and management and administration.
BIA assessments can be calculated based on square footage, assessed land value and/or B & O taxable revenue. The assessments are collected by the City and disbursed to the BIA, which is responsible for the financial management of the funds. The BIA is overseen by a ratepayer’s board, which is responsible for developing the program and budget. You may use Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) monies to plan for a potential BIA. Once the BIA is established, BIA assessments can be used as a match for NMF applications.
The process of getting a BIA: you must have a petition signed by potential ratepayers representing 60% of the assessable value in the district. For example, if B & O revenue will be used for the BIA assessments, businesses that comprise 60% of all revenues generated in the district would need to sign the petition. The petition is then submitted to the Department of Executive Administration and approved by City Council.
The Office of Economic Development Can Help
Frequently asked questions:
If a potential ratepayer doesn’t support the BIA, does he/she have to pay the assessments?
If 60% of the area's ratepayers have signed the petition and City Council approves, all ratepayers must pay the assessments.
If businesses are paying the assessments, what happens when a storefront is vacant?
If the assessment formula is based on business B&O taxable revenue only, the vacant storefront would not be assessed because there is no business. However, t he formula can be set up so that property owners pay fees for vacant space.
Can businesses be excluded from paying assessments?
Yes. For example, most BIA districts specify exemptions for charitable organizations and temporary uses.
Benefits and challenges of BIAs:
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