In light of ongoing economic demands in California cities, many communities are facing reduced or depleted project and operation budgets which historically funded central business district services and activities. Regular programs have been eliminated, projects delayed and levels of service reduced. In addition, with an increased awareness of social issues (homelessness, panhandling, crime, etc.) and environmental concerns (littering, graffiti, etc) the public perceives a greater need for supplemental business district security and maintenance services.
Additionally, there is an ever-increasing amount of competition for traditional business districts from shopping malls, off-price centers, big box warehouse retailers and factory outlets, as well as a myriad of mail order catalogs, internet sales and home shopping networks. There is a significantly greater need to aggressively market goods and services and create physical environments and services comparable to the competition. Business districts everywhere must work harder and smarter just to capture a portion of their proportionate market share.
In order to thrive in the face of such competition, traditional business districts cannot rely solely on discretionary governmental funding or typical tax supported programs and services. There is a need to pool private resources so as to independently fund vital activities, services and improvements. Business districts throughout California are finding that one of the most effective methods today to accomplish this is through a Property and Business Improvement District (PBID).
This unique assessment mechanism can fund a full array of activities ranging from enhanced maintenance to art festivals and street fairs to beautification projects such as holiday decorations and landscape planters, to urgently needed services such as supplemental security and economic development. By pooling private dollars, PBIDs are able to collectively pay for and manage activities, programs and improvements which would not be possible on an individual owner basis. In a time of stretched public resources, PBIDs are one of the most valuable and effective private sector business district finance tools available.
PBID ELIGIBLE USE OF FUNDS
PBID assessments are levied directly on properties within a prescribed area on the basis of relative special benefit from the improvements and activities to be funded and defined in the California State PBID law (The Property and Business Improvement Area Law of 1994, Section 36600 Streets and Highways Code), as follows:
“Improvement”means the acquisition, construction, installation, or maintenance of any tangible property with an estimated useful life of five years or more including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Parking facilities.
(b) Benches, booths, kiosks, display cases, pedestrian shelters and signs.
(c) Trash receptacles and public restrooms.
(d) Lighting and heating facilities.
(h) Planting areas.
(i) Closing, opening, widening, or narrowing of existing streets.
(j) Facilities or equipment, or both, to enhance security of persons/property within the area.
(k) Ramps, sidewalks, plazas, and pedestrian malls.
(l) Rehabilitation or removal of existing structures.
“Activities”means, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Promotion of public events which benefit businesses or real property in the district.
(b) Furnishing of music in any public place in the area.
(c) Promotion of tourism within the district.
(d) Marketing and economic development, including retail retention and recruitment.
(e) Providing security, sanitation, graffiti removal, street and sidewalk cleaning, and other municipal services supplemental to those normally provided by the municipality.
(f) Activities which benefit businesses and real property located in the district.
REQUIRED INFORMATION IN A PBID MANAGEMENT DISTRICT PLAN
As stipulated by California State PBID Law the following information and data must be included in a PBID Management District Plan:
Section 36622. The management district plan shall contain all of the following:
(a) A map of the district in sufficient detail to locate each parcel of property within the district.
(b) The name of the proposed district.
(c) A description of the boundaries of the district, including the boundaries of any benefit zones, proposed for establishment or extension in a manner sufficient to identify the lands included. Under no circumstances shall the boundaries of a proposed district overlap with the boundaries of another existing district created pursuant to this part. Nothing in this part prohibits the boundaries of a district created pursuant to this part to overlap with other assessment districts established pursuant to other provisions of law including, but not limited to, the Parking and Business Improvement Area Law of 1989.
(d) The improvements and activities proposed for each year of operation of the district and the maximum cost thereof.
(e) The total annual amount proposed to be expended for improvements, maintenance and operations in each year of operation of the district.
(f) The proposed source or sources of financing including the proposed method and basis of levying the assessment in sufficient detail to allow each property owner to calculate the amount of the assessment to be levied against his of her property.
(g) The time and manner of collecting the assessments.
(h) The specific number of years, to a maximum of five years initially, and 10 years thereafter in which assessments will be levied. The management district plan may set forth specific increases in assessments for each year of operation of the district.
(i) The proposed time for implementation and completion of the management district plan.
(j) Any proposed rules and regulations to be applicable to the district.
(k) A list of the properties to be assessed, including the assessor’s parcel number, and a statement of the method or methods by which the expenses of a district will be imposed upon benefited real property, in proportion to the benefit received by the property, to defray the cost thereof, including operation and maintenance. The plan may provide that all or any class or category of real property which is exempt by law from real property taxation may nevertheless be included within the boundaries of the district but shall not be subject to the assessment.
(l) A statement whether bonds will be issued in relation to the operation of the district.
(m) Any other item or matter required to be incorporated therein by the city council.
The La Mesa PBID Formation Committee has recently approved the Management District Plan. It is now being finalized for minor changes. Additional information will be published as soon as the plan is completed.