Use of Strategies That Promote Sustainability in Business Improvement Districts
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The purpose of this study is to describe business improvement district (BID) partnership maintenance strategies. After reviewing the relevant literature, three descriptive categories emerged: having a clear purpose, inclusiveness, and accountability. BID directors‘ use of various strategies was determined using an online survey sent to 278 BIDs. Nineteen percent (n = 54) of the surveys were completed. BIDs use maintenance strategies to varying degrees. Most BIDs have a strategic plan, go door-to-door to communicate BID boundaries, conduct public hearings, generate alternative sources of BID revenue, collect data on spillover effects, have local government collect their assessments, and coordinate security patrols with local police departments. About half of BIDs currently require annual reauthorization, have city officials directly involved in BID decision-making processes, conduct performance audits, and have established performance benchmarks to evaluate BID performance.
However, an overwhelming majority of BIDs do not negotiate flat assessment rates with business or property owners. BIDs also confirmed that their assessment formulas do not reflect preexisting services provided by businesses within BID districts that will also be provided by the BID. Because the majority of BID- directed litigation revolves around assessment payers who allege that their assessments are unfair, these trends need to be reversed in order to prevent future litigation from threatening BID-government partnerships.