As promised, County Executive Marc Elrich yesterday vetoed a bill that would establish a business improvement district in Silver Spring.
In response, seven County Council members vowed to override the veto when the council returned in September.
Bill 3-21 Special Taxing Area Laws – Silver Spring Business Improvement District – Established, which was passed on July 27, is intended to deliver services aimed at promoting the economic growth of downtown Silver Spring, enhancing the work of the Silver Spring Urban District and Regional Service Center.
Shortly after passage, Elrich held a press conference to announce his plans with Councilmember Will Jawando, the lone vote against the bill, and representatives of Fenton Village businesses that opposed the legislation.
In his veto message to the council, Elrich cited several factors behind the action:
- The bill is contrary to county goals on racial justice and social equity, putting too much power into the hands of large businesses at the expense of small businesses, especially those lessees who would bear the cost of a BID property tax
- An urban district corporation, such as that which exists in Bethesda, would be a better model, and
- Lack of sufficient public transparency by the council during the process.
Council President Tom Hucker, Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Andrew Friedson, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice signed on to a statement that reads, in part, ““The goal of the Silver Spring Business Improvement District is to have various businesses of different sizes working together toward one common goal—showcasing our amazing Silver Spring community as a premier destination to dine, shop and enjoy the arts and community events.
“We are confident that this new focus on marketing, promotions and building partnerships will harness the collective skills and strengths of our local business community to reinvigorate Silver Spring for all,” the statement concluded.
Silver Spring BID graphic