Lessons from Business Improvement Districts: Building on Past Successes
Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer No. 5
23 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2009
Date Written: March, 12 2009
Although most people probably have not heard of them, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have proliferated across the globe. Geographically defined zones authorized to collect taxes from businesses within their boundaries, BIDs have significantly changed urban governance and revived business areas. The property owners within a BID elect a board of directors who funnel the collected funds to various activities, which usually include sanitation, street cleaning, street improvements, additional security, and marketing for the business neighborhood. However, the BID model is very flexible and could be used to tackle other urban problems.
This Policy Primer provides basic background information on the history, legal framework, and past successes of BIDs, information that local governments interested in promoting BIDs within their jurisdictions might find useful. It further proposes alternative ways urban governments could give BIDs enhanced roles in local governance.
Keywords: Urban economics, local governance, business improvement districts, BIDs
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