Executive Summary

In the 1970's, New York City was home to three Special Assessment Districts (SADs), the predecessors of today's Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). Currently, the City supports 34 BIDS and an additional 39 areas have expressed some level of interest in establishing their own BIDs. What began as a concept to raise funds for capital improvements, has transcended into the emergence of the "micropolis"-- an alliance of City blocks, which utilize property assessments to supplement the service delivery of the municipality in which they exist. In fact, these BIDs often mirror municipal government by levying assessments to pay for their own security, sanitation, social services and capital construction.

Property owners in a BID are mandated to pay assessments -- failure to pay could result in fines and foreclosure proceedings. Unlike residents of municipal government, however, BID property owners are given no opportunity to vote for the continuation of the BID, its manager and assessment. The Committee has strong concerns that many property owners and merchants are not properly informed about their BID's activities. In fact, the report demonstrates that a significant number of property owners do not believe their annual assessment has been a good investment.

Although the report concludes that, overall, BIDs have had a positive impact on many New York neighborhoods, BIDs nevertheless require additional oversight and in some cases serious operational restructuring. While there is tremendous interaction between the Department of Business Services (DBS) and the BIDs during the approval process, the Administration has failed to allocate the sufficient resources needed for DBS to conduct effective oversight of ongoing BID activity. Additionally, the BIDs' boards of directors have often failed to take responsibility for the oversight and management of the BID. In the case of the larger BIDs, many board members are prominent members of the business community and could provide real management assistance, yet do not contribute enough time to the BID. In the case of the smaller BIDs, many property owners do not get involved with the boards of directors.

This report is intended to give the public a comprehensive look at New York City's BIDs, including their operations and services. Additionally, the report offers recommendations to strengthen existing BID operations as well as provides guidance to the dozens of other neighborhoods which have expressed an interest in creating their own BIDs.

The report is divided into sections which detail a number of significant findings and recommendations. Some of these findings and recommendations include:


Background


BID Dissolution

Findings

Recommendations


Outreach

Findings

Recommendations


Complaint Resolution Process

Findings

Recommendations


Affiliation Conflicts

Findings

Recommendations


Performance Measurements

Findings

Recommendations


Fiscal Management

Findings

Recommendations


Contracting

Findings

Recommendations


Administrative Costs

Findings

Recommendations


Salaries

Findings

Recommendations


Multiple Management

Findings

Recommendations


Providing Services Outside of the District

Findings

Recommendations


General Satisfaction

Findings

Recommendations


Sanitation

Findings

Recommendations


Security

Findings

Recommendations


Promotion/Marketing

Findings

Recommendations


Social Services

Findings

Recommendations