No BID Info
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND RESIDENTS OF
JACKSON HEIGHTS, ELMHURST, AND CORONA
We bring to your attention the proposed
Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District (BID)
WHAT: Proposal to expand an existing two-block BID at 82nd Street, known as the 82nd Street Partnership, to become one of the city’s longest BIDs, encompassing commercial property from 81st Street to 104th Street along Roosevelt Avenue, while incorporating the retail shopping areas of Junction Boulevard, Corona Plaza, and National Street.
PROBLEM: As a private association of a majority of commercial property owners, the Jackson Heights-Corona BID will orchestrate a variety of activities designed to raise property values along Roosevelt Avenue. This increase in property value will lead to higher commercial rents for small business owners. As has happened in many other neighborhoods, such as in Downtown Brooklyn or Fordham Road in the Bronx, the BID will displace small businesses who provide culturally-specific, affordable products and services to immigrants, communities of color, and low-income populations. For more on the many problems with BIDs, please see the reverse side of this page.
In the next few weeks merchants and property owners will be given one chance to decide if they want a BID formed in our neighborhood. Once a BID is formed it is nearly impossible to dissolve. The BID is funded by an annual assessment fee (tax) collected by the NYC Department of Finance.
ONCE THE BID BECOMES LAW YOU CAN’T OPT OUT – NYC BID LAW MANDATES YOU PAY!
What is a BID?
BIDs are highly controversial arrangements that require commercial property owners within a BID’s jurisdiction to pay an annual assessment fee to the BID’s board of directors who use the money to privately manage the public space and the built environment of our neighborhoods. Residents and the vast majority of small business owners do not have any control over this process. Nevertheless, the added costs associated with an increase in property value, combined with the assessment fee, are frequently passed on business owners, many of whom cannot afford any increase in rents.
What is the end goal of the BID?
Proponents of the BID hope to change the physical space and cultural character of our neighborhoods, bringing Roosevelt Avenue in line with the consumption habits of highly affluent urban professionals whose lifestyles are very different from the wants and needs of the poor, working-class, and even middle-class immigrant communities who already live and shop here. In other words, the BID seeks to engineer the replacement of one population with another.
Will the BID make Roosevelt Avenue safer?
The fact of the matter is, since the 1990s, crime rates in every category have steadily dropped in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona. When BID proponents try to cast Roosevelt Avenue as crime-ridden they manipulate statistics without reflection on context or long-term trends. On November 9th, two people were shot in the Bryant Park skating rink in Manhattan, which is operated by an extremely well-funded BID. If BIDs really make neighborhoods safer, why wasn’t this act of violence prevented?
Who is Seth Taylor?
Seth Taylor was hired as the executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership in 2012, approximately one year before Councilmember Ferreras announced plans to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. Before relocating to Queens, Taylor was the Business Services Manager of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership where he oversaw the displacement of small businesses from Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district and cultural space, only to be replaced by chain stores, expensive boutiques, and high-rise luxury condominiums.
What is track record of BIDs throughout NYC?
Throughout the city, communities have organized vigorously to oppose BIDs. In 2012, hundreds of small property owners in Chinatown sought to prevent a BID from forming. Similar efforts were undertaken recently in SoHo and in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area. In 1995 and 1997, the City Council conducted two studies of BIDs which “found that many business owners were not well informed about BID operations and that they were paying too much money for additional services. About one-third of landlords and property managers considered BIDs a bad investment. An additional quarter of landlords were uncertain of the utility of BIDs. BID leaders had also manipulated member votes and even dropped from the district large businesses that opposed their plans; in general, they abused their power” (Chronopoulos 2011). As Moshe Adler has noted, despite these reports from City Council, few policies were enacted to curtail BID leaders’ abuses of power.
What is the alternative to a BID?
Our point is very simple: we deserve a new model of development. We deserve schools which aren’t overcrowded. We deserve to not be profiled by local police officers. We deserve better maintenance of the No. 7 train line. We deserve better sanitation services, better public spaces, and access to loans for our small businesses.
The BID model, however, places the management of city services and public space under the control of the private sector. These are things that we, the people, deserve from our government, and that we pay for with our taxes. We are not against investment in our local community. We do, however, disagree with the model through which billionaires receive tax exemptions and our local communities receive donations as favors from the billionaires, and in which the cost of running the city government is increasingly placed under the control of private interests.
We need a real commitment on the part of our local politicians and publicly-funded investment in our neighborhoods, our public space, and infrastructure to keep our small businesses and communities thriving.
VOTE – NO BID