County Council Approves Bill to Create a Silver Spring Business Improvement District

The County Council yesterday approved a bill to establish a business improvement district in Silver Spring that would provide marketing and promotions for all the businesses within the current Silver Spring Urban District.

Bill 3-21 Special Taxing Area Laws – Silver Spring Business Improvement District – Established is intended to deliver services aimed at promoting the economic growth of Downtown Silver Spring, enhancing the work of the SSUD and Regional Service Center.

“Silver Spring has a great comeback story—not by luck, but by investment and commitment from the county and its residents,” Council President Tom Hucker (D-District 5), a lead sponsor, said in a press release. “The county government has a responsibility to provide the tools necessary for Silver Spring to compete in the region and build upon revitalization efforts. I’m confident this bill will help Silver Spring.”

“A great step forward in promoting and marketing Silver Spring as a place to live, work, shop and play,” said Steve Silverman, a representative of the Silver Spring BID, incorporated to advocate for the BID law.

The BID boundaries would be the same as those of the SSUD, though the law provides for the expansion of the territory under certain conditions. In addition to the businesses located in the BID, condominiums and cooperative housing corporations could petition to join the BID.

The funding would come from a BID tax on non-exempt properties, parking district revenues, and any other revenue collected by the BID, such as charges for services or private contributions.

A board selected by the initial board members of the Silver Spring BID will govern the BID.

Bill 3-21 “requires a nine-member board of directors for the business improvement district that includes three owners of property assessed at more than $20 million, two owners of property assessed at $20 million or less, one business employing more than 50 employees in the district, and three businesses employing 50 or less employees in the district,” according to the press release.

The council expanded the representation of small business owners to address concerns that the initial proposal would not be responsive to them.

The council also mandated that the SSUD continue to provide clean and safe services for the SS BID under its existing authority, a change that addressed issues raised by UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO.

The bill was passed, 7–1, with Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) the lone “no” vote. Councilmember Nancy Navarro (D-District 4) was unavoidably absent but voted to recommend approval of the bill to the full council in the joint Government Operations and Fiscal Policy and Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting on July 26.

“Following on the BID legislation’s passage, we will take up the idea of creating a ‘Main Street’ program for the smallest businesses in Silver Spring as well as other applicable business districts in the county,” Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-At Large), a lead sponsor, said in the release. “I am confident this will be a winning example of public-private partnership.”

Silver Spring BID graphic

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