Business Improvement Districts

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are privately directed and publicly sanctioned organizations that supplement public services within geographically defined boundaries by generating multiyear revenue through a compulsory assessment on local property owners and/or businesses. BIDs are managed by public or nonprofit boards, predominantly with local business representation, and often including residents and local governments as well. BIDs create collective economic benefits for their members that cannot be achieved on an individual basis. The BID model is similar to the special assessment value capture technique, as both concepts capitalize on incremental tax assessments levied on properties within a defined geographic area that are directed toward improvement purposes within the district. BIDs often rely on other sources of revenue, in addition to the tax assessment, to fund their operations.

Common activities of BIDs include providing enhanced security (e.g. uniformed, foot-patrols that coordinate with law enforcement), sanitation (e.g. sidewalk and public space cleaning), and capital improvements (e.g. landscaping and assistance with storefront renovations), as well as leading marketing campaigns to attract consumers, commercial tenants, tourists, and investors. BIDs often develop their own branding and marketing schemes, including logos, slogans, and advertising, as reflected on signage, maps, and publications.

The major limitation on the use of BIDs is that they must fund improvements that provide local benefits within the district. They cannot be used to fund improvements that benefit the larger community. Therefore, BID funding for transportation typically has been limited to landscaping, sidewalk maintenance and cleaning, and BID-provided local transportation service or support for transit service within the BID.


Business Improvement Districts Fact Sheet

View Resources on Business Improvement Districts


View enabling legislation for Business Improvement Districts.