City, Chamber Release New BID Study

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

August 25, 2022

The City of Morro Bay and the Chamber of Commerce have released a study on possibly forming a “Business Improvement District” and local business people are being encouraged to sign up and attend an upcoming meeting to hear the results.

The Chamber of Commerce sent out an alert regarding the study and meeting. 

“The Morro Bay Chamber and the City of Morro Bay,” reads an announcement on the Chamber’s newsletter, “collaborated on a Business Improvement District [BID] feasibility study, conducted by The HRM Corp. in the Spring of 2022.”

Chamber is sponsoring an informational meeting at Pizza Port at Main and Morro Bay Boulevard, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29. The meeting features two speakers, Bettina Swigger, the Chief Executive Officer for Downtown SLO and Jocelyn Brennan, the President/CEO of The HRM Corp.

The meeting is free to attend but pre-registration is encouraged, see: www.morrochamber.org/events to register.

So what’s this entail? “In this case the City of Morro Bay, at the request of business or property owners within a certain defined area, levy an assessment on businesses or property owners to fund services or improvements that benefit the self-assessed businesses or property.

Business owners and property owners form BIDs because they provide localized services. Cities find BIDs helpful because a BID can promote economic development and, increased tax revenue for the city from the self-assessed BID area. They also carry out economic development services by working to attract, retain and expand businesses.”

These BIDs are already in place in other SLOO County cities. “SLO County BID examples,” reads HRM’s report, “are the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association. The Main Street Association Downtown Paso Robles Business Improvement Assessment District, and The Atascadero Parking and Business Improvement District.”

The report discusses a particular type of BID, a “Property Business Improvement District” or PBID. “PBIDs benefit real property within their districts. They offer services that include cleaning public rights of way; sidewalk and gutter maintenance; trash removal; security services; parking or transportation related services; economic development; special lighting; business attraction and retention; planning and zoning; graffiti removal; advocacy; tree maintenance and planting; marketing and promotion; sponsoring special events; and beautification and decorations. “Assessment methods are determined by each BID,” HRM’s report said, “based on a combination of factors that can include lot size, level of service received, business type, gross receipts, building size, street frontage, business license, and usage. Depending on these factors, annual assessments are calculated and a budget is formed. “

The description ends with a somewhat debatable claim. “These assessments are not taxes.”

The report is available online at: https://bit.ly/3dunwEI.

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