Business Improvement District

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are BIDs?

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS (BIDs) are funding mechanisms for business district revitalization and management. The mechanism is an assessment collected from commercial and multi-family properties within defined boundaries. The funds are used to provide services for the mutual benefit of the properties being assessed.

What are the benefits of being within a BID?
  • Curb Appeal. Everyone pitching in means that the street-level experience is enhanced and maintained. BID funds will go to provide for enhanced lighting, street tree maintenance, and a cleaner district.
  • Economies of Scale for Services. Because everyone pays in, the Sprague Union District BID provides for a cost-efficient solution to receive enhanced services like additional policing and security measures, decorative lighting and district cleaning at a lower cost for services than might otherwise be purchased independently. [1]
  • Increased Property Values & Return on Investment. A national study showed that most BID members receive greater than a 5:1 return on investment for their annual assessments. [2]

1 A 2011 California study found that after BID adoption, property sales prices from a sample of 8 BIDs increased, on average, 19% more than the sales prices of non-BID properties.

2 National University System Institute for Policy Research, the Economic Impact of Business Improvement Districts, 2012.

Isn’t this something the City should be doing?

Property maintenance, security lighting, cleaning and maintenance of sidewalks and planting strips are the responsibility of the property owner, not the City of Spokane. Currently, the City provides a baseline level of service to public property designed to complement the efforts of the private sector to keep the public realm safe and the sidewalks clean. The City of Spokane is committed to maintaining its current levels of service within the Sprague Union District.

How were the boundaries of the BID determined?

The boundaries of the BID were drafted with the input of district property owners and tenants and are intended to capture the core of the district surrounding East Sprague Avenue. The three BID service areas were designed to reflect the level of benefit to be received by the different areas.

Who sits on the ratepayer advisory board?

The BID will have an advisory board comprised of ratepayers who are property owners within the BID boundary. The ratepayer advisory board will be current ratepayers in good standing and will represent the various business classes and geographic diversity of the district. The method of creating a ratepayer advisory board will be at the recommendation of the BID ratepayers and approved by the Spokane City Council.

How will the collected assessment funds be used?

Funds will be used for district cleanliness and landscaping, district beautification, and district branding efforts. The ratepayer advisory board will guide the specifics of BID program elements and revisit them every year.

What happens when all the money isn’t spent?

In general, assessment funds are intended to be spent within the same year that they are collected. The BID may decide to withhold a small amount of funds for small capital investments (such as acquisition of street furniture) or for contingency planning for unanticipated events or maintenance needs. It will be up to the ratepayer advisory board to guide this decision-making process.

Is the BID permanent?

No, but the BID will be in place until it is terminated. The process to terminate a district is very similar to the process to create a BID. First, a supporting petition is circulated requesting the Spokane City Council to dissolve the BID. After receiving the petition, a public hearing is held before City Council, who will then decide on the petition.

What are non-assessable parcels?

Properties classified by the Spokane County Tax Assessor’s Office as residential properties with four units or less cannot be assessed.

How will the assessment capture new development in the neighborhood?

New development will be incorporated into the BID on an annual basis.

How will the assessment change over time?

To account for inflation, the rates shall be adjusted annually by an inflationary factor, which will be equal to the change in the annual Consumer Price Index or 3% per year, whichever is less. New data for every property in the district will be pulled every 3 years to capture growth in each property’s Total Assessed Value.

How does the BID relate to other on- going planning efforts in the neighborhood?

The City of Spokane is currently in the process of planning for the East Sprague Targeted Investment Pilot (TIP). While the BID will focus on similar issues, the TIP and the BID are two distinct processes.

I am a business owner, not a property owner, will I pay?

All properties within the Sprague Union District BID boundaries are included. It will ultimately be up to the property owner or the terms of the lease as to how, and if, the cost is passed on to the tenant.

How do I get involved?

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