Answers to BID questions
On Jan 15, Edmonds City Council took a progressive step by forming the Downtown Edmonds Business Improvement District (BID).
As committee members who volunteered to build support for the BID, we are excited to involve fellow business owners in making the BID a success.
In response to Kyle Huffman’s concerns published in last week’s Beacon, we’d like to offer a few clarifications.
According to Washington State law (as noted in the RCW) there are two ways to establish a BID. One is by petition; the other by city ordinance.
As of August 2012, our committee surpassed a 60 percent majority of signed petitions.
The RCW states the majority must be measured not by the number of businesses (60 percent of 313 businesses), but by the total value of assessments (60 percent of $89,000 in total assessments). So while Kyle’s concerns about majority rule are understandable, we were targeting what the RCW defined as a majority.
We have signatures from businesses whose assessments equaled 60 percent of the total.
Because the business community is always in flux, with businesses moving, opening and closing, the petition method was a moving target.
On the city attorney’s advice, we used the legal method of a city ordinance to establish the BID, using the signed petitions as a show of support.
The boundaries were drawn three years ago based on the highest concentration of businesses.
Making choices was not done with mal-intent. The RCW does allow for BIDs to expand.
By law, the BID member advisory board submits an annual work plan to City Council for approval, as does every city-created entity.
Members of the BID, not the city, create the work plan. Members decide how the money is spent.
BIDs are self-help mechanisms for local business areas; they are not created to replace municipal budgets.
In discussions with Seattle-based BIDs, the Seattle City Council is not involved in day-to-day decisions, but provides oversight in the event of negligence.
We anticipate working with the Edmonds City Council in a similar fashion.
If a City Council ever decided to usurp the spending of the funds, the district can dissolve itself.
We are a volunteer committee, and our intent is to be inclusive and transparent.
We hope that our fellow BID members will bring their ideas and enthusiasm for our next steps. We are looking for people to serve on the member advisory board, if you are interested please let us know.
We have a bright future together.
Mary Kay Sneeringer – Edmonds Bookshop
Chris Fleck- Puget Sound Tax Services
Pam Stuller- Walnut Street Coffee
Robert Boehlke - HouseWARES
David Arista - Arista Wine Cellars
Jenny Shore - Wooden Spoon
Kim Wahl- Reliable Floorcovering