A Property-Based Business Improvement District (PBID) is a private sector funding mechanism designed to improve the environment of a business district with new services financed by a self-imposed and self-governed assessment. These services (such as enhanced safety and maintenance) are provided exclusively within the district, and are different from – rather than a replacement of – those already provided by the City. They work in the same way as a common area maintenance (CAM) agreement in shopping malls and office parks. PBIDs are a common tool – there are more than 1,000 across North America and over 100 in California alone, most of which are concentrated in downtown areas.
Downtown has had a business-license-based business improvement area (BIA) since 1975. This BIA raises approximately $240,000 annually from businesses to help fund downtown events such as the Farmers’ Market, Concerts in the Plaza and holiday activities. The BIA has worked for this purpose, but as downtown evolves and more challenges arise, taking on additional downtown improvements has proven difficult given the limited funds.
The PBID will provide services as determined by its board of directors (made up of property and business owners). Initial services will include the following:
– Downtown Ambassador program that will provide visitor information; homeless services outreach and referrals; coordination with local police and property and business owners to prevent crime and address vagrancy issues; safety escorts; merchant outreach; event support; city services liaison
– Maintenance services that include cohesive and consistent sidewalk sweeping, scrubbing, and power washing; litter and graffiti removal; landscaping maintenance (including trees); more frequent and thorough trash removal
– Beautification and cosmetic improvements to make downtown more attractive and welcoming, which may include sidewalk repair, enhanced landscaping and lighting, wayfinding signage, streetscaping, planters, public art, parklets, bicycle parking, etc.
The BIA will remain in place and continue to focus on initiatives including special events, the Farmers’ Market, parking and access efforts, and marketing and promotions.
For the initial year, an annual operating budget of $800,000 is projected, divided amongst services as follows:
It depends on your property location. The PBID will consist of two different benefit zones (see the map above to determine which zone your property is in). The chart below shows the rates for each benefit zone. Benefits from environmental enhancements such as the Ambassadors, cleaning, and beautification are felt throughout the district and all properties will pay for these base services. The Core Zone experiences the most intense foot traffic, and in turn, is where some of the cleanliness and safety issues are concentrated. Therefore, the Core Zone will receive enhanced Ambassador and maintenance services above and beyond that of the rest of the district. This is reflected in a higher linear footage assessment rate.
No. The City of San Luis Obispo has documented its base level of pre-PBID services. The PBID will not replace any pre-existing general City services, but instead will enhance these with new services above and beyond.
No. PBIDs initially have a maximum life of five years, requiring a new petition process to renew. Renewal can be for a term of up to ten years. Once in place, PBIDs tend to have strong support from downtown property owners – the renewal rate nationally is 99%.
You do! First, petition support is required from property owners paying more than 50% of proposed property assessments. A state law on special assessments, Proposition 218, creates an additional mail ballot process which also requires majority support from property owners. Lastly, if there is majority support through both the petition and mail ballot, a public hearing and adoption by City Council are the final steps in the formation process. If successful, services begin January 1, 2020.
The PBID will be governed by a board of directors made up of property and business owners representing a wide variety of sub-areas and use-types within downtown. Day to day, Downtown SLO – the existing non-profit that manages the BIA – will be the operating arm of the PBID. This arrangement will allow the PBID to leverage resources and reduce administrative costs.
Additionally, the existing BIA board will remain intact. Downtown SLO will form a new Executive Committee, containing members of both boards, which will provide oversight of overall Downtown SLO functions and ensure coordination between the PBID and BIA. This management model is common in communities across the country with multiple districts.
Chief Operating Officer,