Introduction to California Property and Business Improvement Districts
Property & business improvement districts are a stable funding source for organizations of property owners working to improve their business district. Owners within the district work together to make significant improvements, attract consumers and new businesses, and develop the area.
What does a PBID do?
PBIDs can have many functions, all of which are aimed at improving the district. A PBID’s operations are determined by the property owners funding the PBID. PBID activities often include security services, clean up and maintenance services, capital and infrastructure improvement programs, marketing programs and many other significant progressive projects.
Who manages a PBID?
Typically a PBID is managed by a new non-profit corporation specifically formed to fill this role. The property owners forming the PBID decide who will manage the PBID and how. The PBID corporation is required to submit annual reports, ensuring accountability to assessed property owners.
How is a PBID Funded?
PBIDs are funded through an assessment on properties within the district. The amount of the assessment is determined by property owners at the formation of the district, within particular legal guidelines. Certain types of property can be exempt from all or part of the assessment if they do not benefit from district services. Funds raised through the assessment must be spent within the district for the benefit of the properties paying the assessment. Funds raised through a PBID cannot be diverted to government programs.
Why should I support forming a PBID?
Local and state governments are often unable to provide specialized services to meet an area’s unique needs. Government programs are also subject to political and economic circumstances which can cause cuts of services. Establishing a PBID remedies this inconsistency by providing a secure, stable funding source of crucial services. PBID spending priorities and limits are established by property owners with intimate acknowledge of and a vested interest in the particular needs of the district.
What are the advantages of a PBID?
- They provide a stable funding source for improvements and services
- They are designed, created and managed by those who pay the assessment
- Funds cannot be diverted for government programs
- They are customized to fit the unique needs of the district
The Renewal Process
Under the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, the PBID renewal process can be
divided into six steps.
1. Creation of Renewal Resources
- Identify Steering Committee members
- Obtain information needed for database
2. Owner Outreach & Education
- Educate property owners about PBIDs via handouts and meetings
- Obtain input and support from property owners
- Hold focus groups and circulate surveys as needed
3. District Plan Development
- Identify district boundaries and included properties
- Identify benefit zones, if needed
- Determine services to be provided by the district
- Determine assessment rate and budget
- Determine governance structure
- Draft and review district plan
4. Petition Drive
- Prepare, distribute and collect petitions for renewal
- Submit petitions from owners who will pay 50% or more of the assessment to the City Council or Board of Supervisors
5. Initial Hearing
- Prepare Resolution of Intention
- Prepare Notice of Public Meeting/Hearing and Ballot
- Resolution of Intention hearing
- Mail notice and ballot to all owners
6. Public Hearing
- City Council/Board of Supervisors considers any protests presented and tallies ballots cast
- If 50% or more of the ballots cast favor renewal, the City Council/Board of Supervisors can adopt Resolution of Renewal