The ABCs of Downtown
Business Improvement Districts (or "BIDs") are being used increasingly throughout California to finance services that improve the quality of life and economic vitality of downtowns, Main Streets, and commercial corridors. It is estimated that more than 2,000 BIDs now exist in North America and the phenomenon is spreading to Central and South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
A BID is a special benefit assessment district which allows for an assessment on property or business within a defined geographic area. Revenues from this assessment are directed back to the defined area to finance a myriad of enhanced services, including security, maintenance, marketing, economic development, tourism promotion, parking, and special events.
BIDs are formed with the consent of and active participation from property and business owners. The success of BIDs relies on forging public/private partnerships within business districts. Local government can play a key role to encourage the creation of BIDs.
This report is designed to help downtown organizations, property and business owners, local governmental officials and downtown advocates explore the formation of BIDs in California by explaining different BID options and addressing key questions about BIDs. The report also touches on BID renewal and provides a listing of selected California BIDs.
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