Renewing a PBID? For Best Results, Start in January

By Melanee Cottrill, Civitas

Do you remember how long it took to form your PBID? All the work that goes into a formation, determining boundaries, debating which services are really needed, coming up with a realistic budget, and then getting property owners to buy in can take a year or more.

When it comes time to renew, many PBIDs think it’ll be fast and easy.  After all, we already know our boundaries, and our budget, and our services, and even our property owners.  Piece of cake.

But, any Executive Director whose been through a renewal knows – nothing in life that’s worthwhile is ever a piece of cake (except of course for that literal piece of cake on the counter which is absolutely worth the calories) – especially a PBID renewal. There are two frequently occurring delays we experience in PBID renewals.

The delay first is property owners. Yes, you know who the property owners are now.  Yes, you know what the services and budget are now.  And so do the property owners.

But there is an elephant in the room – a big question that maybe you haven’t asked yet.  When it comes down to it, when they are looking at the dollar signs and the work the PBID has done, and being asked to sign on the dotted line, will your property owners sign a petition and check yes on their ballot?  You don’t want to be surprised at the answer, especially when your budget hangs in the balance.

The second delay is the local government. With recent court cases complicating legal requirements, local government staff are taking more time to review documents.

To avoid a budget-busting surprise, give yourself plenty of time on your renewal process.  Although the deadline to complete a renewal is in July, we recommend starting the process at least 18 months prior, in January of the preceding year.  An early start gives more time to build consensus, to get feedback, to design a renewal that will be supported.  If your PBID expires in 2018, now is the time to start thinking about getting started.

And for our readers who are still well in-between renewals, January is the time to consider a benefit audit.  Reach out to your property owners, conduct surveys and hold meetings, to get their feedback on services.  Now is the time to hear them, to update your programs, and to set the foundation for a strong renewal. 

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