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Coney Island BID FAQs

What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. The result is a cleaner, safer and more welcoming environment for shoppers, residents and visitors. 

 

How are BIDs funded? 

BID programs and services are funded by a special assessment billed to property owners within a district. Assessments are unique to each BID and decided upon by the BID’s stakeholders. In total, the BID assessments plus any additional revenue raised through grants and sponsorships equal the yearly BID budget, which is used to fund the program of BID services and improvements. The City of New York assists with the collection of the special assessment, which in turn, is distributed directly to the BID. The BID receives 100% of the money collected. 

 

Why a BID in Coney Island? Why Now? 

A BID offers a model that incorporates a sustainable revenue stream to support programming and services for our commercial corridors, including supplemental sanitation, events, collective marketing, holiday lights, and more. Grant funding is never guaranteed, and we need to find a model to sustain commercial revitalization services for years to come. 

 

New developments, including housing and additional commercial space, bring additional opportunities to the district. A Coney Island BID would leverage the impact of this investment to provide the types of services and events that the neighborhood needs, but would also ensure that the history and culture of the neighborhood is preserved. 

 

Who is driving the effort to form a BID in Coney Island? 

The BID formation effort is being driven by the BID Formation Steering Committee, a diverse group of long-time local property owners, business owners, residents, and community members with decades of shared history investing in and advocating for the Coney Island neighborhood. Many Steering Committee members are active members of the Alliance for Coney Island, Community Board 13, and other groups dedicated to the betterment of the neighborhood. 

 

Who will pay the BID assessment? 

A BID is funded by commercial property owners and commercial tenants within the BID geography. Residents within the district will pay a token $1.The City collects the BID payments and returns the monies in its entirety – 100% – to be used for the services and improvements. 

Why is an “assessment” different from a “tax”?

A tax comes out of your pocket and goes to the government, who gets to decide how your money gets spent. With an assessment, the money you pay comes directly back to the Coney Island community, where it gets invested in the collective good of the commercial corridor. The ability to control funds at the hyper-local level means more flexibility in resource allocation from the exact people who know local conditions and can respond more quickly to issues and concerns. YOU have the opportunity to be an active participant in the BID, and control how the money is spent! 

 

How much will the BID cost me? 

The Steering Committee has developed a formula to calculate the assessment for each property in the proposed district based on the applicable property’s lot area, or for certain mixed use properties, the property’s commercial square footage. The below formula is based on the maximum possible amount that the BID can bill to the properties in its geography; the starting rate will be at least 25% less than this maximum rate. When the BID is formed, the board will aim to keep the assessment as low as possible for as long as possible by fundraising through grants and sponsorships to supplement the BID budget. For more information about calculating your BID assessment, click HERE 

 

What do I get for my money?

All assessment dollars come back to, and are controlled by the local BID Board. The Steering Committee believes that the community benefits of these services far outweigh the cost to any individual, and that the administration of these services will result in further investment and revenue coming into the neighborhood. Services that will be provided by a Coney Island BID are as follows: 

 

Dedicated Staff 

  • to manage the organization

  • to develop and manage local programming

  • to respond to community feedback

 

Special Event Programing

  • Free year-round public programming; Legacy Events

  • Friday Night Fireworks

  • Flicks on the Beach

  • Polar Bear Plunge

  • Ice Sculpting Contest

  • Hot Dog Eating Contest

  • And More! 

Community Based Public Safety Programs

  • Surveillance Systems

  • Supplemental Security 

  • Security Lighting

Sanitation & Maintenance Services

  • Proposed Enhanced services (including but not limited to)

  • Sidewalk sweeping 

  • Power washing

  • Graffiti removal 

  • Snow removal

Street-scaping & Decorations

  • Street Banners 

  • Holiday Lighting

Local Business Support

  • Post-COVID recovery

  • Technical assistance

  • Resource advocacy

Marketing & Promotions 

  • To increase Tourism

  • To increase Coney Island brand recognition

  • Social media and district branding

 

Public Advocacy

  • Liaising with City Agencies to address business and local concerns

Shouldn't the City pay for this? Doesn't this let the City "off the hook" for services?

The BID provides supplemental services, which are higher level, more targeted to local conditions, and go above and beyond the services that the City provides. BIDs do not replace City mandated services. In fact, BID advocacy often leads to increased and more responsive City services. By law, City services cannot be reduced because of the presence of a BID. 

 

Who will run a Coney Island BID? Who controls the funds? 

YOU will — with the assistance of paid professionals. A BID is a not-for-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of local stakeholders. Elected by members in the district, the Board must include a majority of property owners, plus merchants, residents, and representatives of local elected office (Mayor, City Council, Comptroller, Borough President).  

 

The Board is in charge of making key decisions about programs and services, budget, goals, policies, and staffing. The Board decides how the BIDs budget is spent and who is hired to execute BID initiatives. The day-to-day operations of the BID are performed by an Executive Director. A Coney Island BID will be an organization that is run by the local community.

What is the difference between the “maximum assessment” and the “annual BID budget”? 

The “maximum assessment,” sometimes referred to as the “assessment cap,” is the maximum amount that can be billed to properties within the geography. This number is generated with longevity in mind, with contingencies built in to account for cost increases in the future (inflation, cost of labor, etc). The board of a BID will very often choose to bill less than the maximum assessment, in the interest of not overburdening assessment payers. 

The annual BID budget consists of the assessment, plus additional funds raised. BIDs are adept at leveraging assessment funding to generate supplemental revenue through grants and sponsorships. Any funds raised are additional revenue for the organization, above and beyond what gets billed for the assessment. So, while the maximum assessment sets a cap on individual property owner contributions, the annual BID budget outlines the total amount of funding needed to support BID activities and initiatives for a given year. The actual assessment each property owner pays may be considerably less than the maximum assessment, particularly if the BID is able to fundraise significant additional revenue. 

 

How do I assure that my assessment won't increase each year beyond my control? 

A board of directors will control the BID budget each year, and decide how much gets billed to the properties within the BID boundaries. The board is elected by members of the BID – aka YOU – to represent you. The amount billed to properties in the district cannot exceed the maximum. 

 

What are the priorities of a Coney Island BID? 

The proposed Coney Island Business Improvement District aims to:

  • Improve Safety and Cleanliness: We will prioritize safety and cleanliness initiatives, including increased security presence, graffiti removal, and sanitation services, to ensure that Coney Island remains a safe and inviting destination for all.

  • Enhance Infrastructure and Streetscape: We will work collaboratively with local authorities to improve streets, sidewalks, lighting, and signage, creating a welcoming and pedestrian-friendly environment for all.

  • Promote Economic Development: By implementing targeted marketing strategies, events, and promotional campaigns, we will attract new businesses, support existing ones, and stimulate economic growth within the district.

  • Foster Community Engagement: We are committed to fostering a sense of community pride and ownership through outreach programs, events, and initiatives that celebrate Coney Island's unique identity and heritage.

  • Advocate for Policy and Investment: We will serve as a unified voice for Coney Island businesses and residents, advocating for policies and investments that benefit the community and promote sustainable development

 

Doesn’t the Alliance for Coney Island already provide services that a BID would provide? Why do we need a BID when we have the Alliance? 

Since 2012, the Alliance for Coney Island has served a BID-like role in the neighborhood, cleaning the sidewalks, installing supplemental lighting and holiday decorations, providing technical assistance and marketing support to local businesses, hosting events and programming that draw visitors, and much more, all for the greater benefit of the neighborhood. The Alliance has been extremely fortunate over the years to receive significant government funding to support these activities. However, much of this funding stream was tied to Sandy recovery, and a capital project which was recently completed. 

The formation of a Business Improvement District in Coney Island is a proposal to create a sustainable structure and mechanism for continuing and expanding upon the work of the Alliance for years to come. 

 

Who gets to vote for the BID?

Only stakeholders within the district get to vote. "Stakeholders" are those that own or rent a mixed-use, parking, commercial or residential space in the determined geography. See map on ballot for tax lots in the geography.

How will I get the most out of a BID?

Get involved! Work with others who are committed to the viability of Coney Island and seek a unifying vision that reflects the diverse interests of Coney Island and a prosperous future for all those who live, work, and visit Coney Island. 

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