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krazeeboi

BIDs popping up all over Washington

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Seems like Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are popping up all over the District. As of now the city has six--the Downtown BID, the Golden Triangle BID, in central downtown, and BIDs on Capitol Hill, in Georgetown, Mount Vernon Square and the newest in Adams Morgan. The services provided by a BID vary in scale and sophistication. The Downtown BID, which collects $10 million in taxes from 535 properties spread across 138 blocks, employs cleaning crews, helps pay for new sidewalks, streetlights and signs, sponsors public cultural events, markets the neighborhood, helps businesses develop, provides services to the homeless and subsidizes the D.C. Circulator, the crosstown public bus service. The Adams Morgan BID, on the other hand, is collecting $300,000 annually primarily for street cleaning and security.

However, some see the proliferation of BIDs as a failure of city government to provide good service for taxes already paid by residents and businesses. Some BIDs are considering imposing the special fees on condo owners as well.

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BIDs sound somewhat like what we have here in Va Beach which we call TIFs or Tax Increment Financing. Special taxing in certain districts helps to pay for public infrastructure such as parking garages, road improvements, etc to make the area more economically viable. We have TIFS at Town Center, the Oceanfront area and Lynnhaven Mall which helped build a parking garage.

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BIDs and TIFs are similar, but they differ in that with BIDs, a new, additional levy is collected instead of capturing the increase of existing taxes from new development.

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