Is the BID really self-imposed?

The Asheville City Council may vote as early as June 12 on whether to establish a Business Improvement District in downtown Asheville. A report released by the interim BID board defines a BID as "a self-imposed way for downtown business and property owners to fund enhanced services or improvement projects within the district." Yet the vast majority of those owners have not been asked whether they agree to a BID, nor did they have an opportunity to select the interim BID board members. Furthermore, the interim BID board boasts of its endorsement by the Downtown Management Committee, when in fact, five of the listed committee members also serve on that board.

Without a referendum that establishes support by a majority of stakeholders, a BID could not be called self-imposed. In the absence of such a referendum, a grass-roots initiative has developed a survey/petition polling fellow residential property owners regarding the proposed BID. The survey form was distributed to 369 downtown condominiums, along with questions and concerns about the proposed BID. Others wishing to participate in the survey can download the materials from http://avl.mx/gb and http://avl.mx/gc. Return the completed form by June 11.

— Imke Durre
Asheville

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