Listen to the BID Public Meeting

As part of its stakeholder outreach process, the people behind the formation of the 3rd Avenue BID (Business Improvement District) held two open meetings to discuss the proposal. Our recording is from the evening meeting on July 25th, which was more contentious. A morning session was almost entirely positive.

The issue at hand is that the 3rd Avenue Merchants, which currently manages events and civic improvement on the avenue, are all-volunteer. As volunteers begin to retire, the events may be at risk.

You can listen in to the full public meeting, or quickly jump to sections of interest in the comprehensive audio bookmark section below.

This event recording makes more sense if you listen to our episode The Bay Ridge 5th Avenue BID first!

Audio Bookmarks

: indicates an interruption or conflict point. Speakers are identified wherever possible.

Presentation 4: Cost & Assessments

Question and Comment Session
Left to Right: Steering Committee co-chair / Merchants of Third Avenue President Robert Howe and Perch Advisors consultant James Ellis | Photo by Daniel Hetteix

BID Formation Ballot

Vote in favor or against the 3rd Avenue BID by filling out a secure ballot form. Ballots will be validated by the Dept. of Small Business Services.

You can vote if you’re a:

  • 3rd Ave property owner
  • 3rd Ave store owner
  • 3rd Ave resident
  • You regularly shop or visit 3rd Ave*

*Note that votes from shoppers and general Bay Ridge residents are less important to overall BID formation, as discussed in the recording. For BID formation, a majority of each three of the primary stakeholder groups must support it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to the existing Merchants Association if a BID is formed?

It will be dissolved and replaced by the BID.

What happens to the 3rd Ave. Summer Stroll?

It will continue, and likely expand or become more frequent due to increased funding.

Why can’t the Merchants Association continue?

It is all-volunteer, it’s leadership is retiring, and has a difficult time securing donations. A BID ensures a reliable source of income to pay professional staff.

How much will the average property owner be assessed?

$895 / year per building

How does the assessment compare to existing property taxes?

The assessment would equate to a 9-10% increase in yearly property taxes, from $9,100 to $9,995 for an average 3rd Ave building.

Can a property owner opt-out of the BID?

No. All commercial property owners within the BID area are required to pay the assessment.

If a property owner passed all the fees on to a store owner, how much would the monthly rent increase?

2% (Assuming a monthly rent of $3,900 increased to $3,974)

Are property owners required to increase rents to pay for the assessment?

No, though they usually do so.

What effect do BIDs have on vacancy rates?

5th Avenue has a 3-6% vacancy rate with a BID. 3rd Avenue has a 6-8% vacancy rate with a Merchants Association. Bay Ridge Avenue has a 12% vacancy rate and has no formal merchants group.

What is the BID’s proposed budget?

$560,000 / year maximum. Its finances would be public and independently audited on a yearly basis.

Who will run the BID?

The BID will be run by an elected board made up of property owners, residents, and merchants.

Who can vote on whether the BID is created?

Property owners, merchants, and residents who live within the BID boundaries.

Can the BID raise the budget cap?

Yes, but it triggers a lengthy city review process. During that time BID Board members can be voted out to halt the increase.

What services will the BID provide?

Marketing, event management, sanitation, street beautification (lights, benches, tree bed plantings), Small Business Services outreach and services, citywide advocacy.

Additional Reading