In essence, a Business Improvement District (BID) is an agreement to self-taxation among property owners for improving their shared environment. It can be used for a number of improvements that extend beyond standard municipal services including but not limited to holiday decorations, plantings, snow removal, etc. Implementation of a BID is regulated by state law and requires approval by petition of 3/4 of property owners in the proposed area for improvements.
The DBPA is in the early stages of exploring BID Development, primarily by introducing the idea in one-on-one conversations with property owners.
Early conversations indicate property owners are both curious and appropriately skeptical. Beyond that, they are already absorbing special assessments above regular property taxes for storm sewer and lighting improvements that were completed as part of the City’s downtown-wide infrastructure improvements in recent years. Advancing this concept, if identified as the best path, will take time, a clear, easy-to-understand, executable plan, and many cups of coffee.
Great Falls is a regional example of a community similar to Minot that implemented a Business Improvement District approximately 10 years ago. Providing property owners with information on that district and its impacts is one potential next step.