Fenton Village Inc. Board Calls for Council to Allow BID Veto to Stand

The board of directors of Fenton Village Inc. has called for the County Council to allow the veto of legislation establishing a Business Improvement District to stand pending possible changes to state law.

In a recent letter to the council, the members of the District 20 state delegation in Silver Spring have sent a letter to the County Council asking for its support for proposed changes to the state law allowing the establishment of BIDS in the county.

In the letter, Sen. William Smith, along with Dels. Lorig Charkoudian, David Moon and Jheanelle Wilkins, express “significant concerns over several provisions of the BID structure and governance. As a result of these issues, we believe the voices of small-and-minority-owned businesses in Downtown Silver Spring – the economic engine of the community – are diminished.”

The delegation intends to introduce changes to the state BID requirements in the next legislative session, which will begin in January.

The delegation’s concerns are primarily focused on what they see as a lack of participation from tenant small business owners in both approving the effort to pass the law as well as voting on the BID’s proposed board of directors.

The council passed the legislation in July. It is intended to provide marketing and promotions for all the businesses within the current Silver Spring Urban District, as well as additional support for the district and the Regional Service Center.

The next month, County Executive Marc Elrich vetoed the law, and the council promptly announced its intent to override the veto.

In a press release, FVI wrote, “There is nothing in the current State law that requires the BID Bylaws to be weighted toward wealthy property owners.  The Council wrote the Bylaws of the current BID which does NOT allow small business owners to vote for Board members. Only Property owners can vote for Board members and their votes are weighted by value of their property – one vote for every $500,000 of value. This governing model is biased toward large, wealthy developers at the expense of and small property owners and small businesses.”

Fenton Village Inc. is a nonprofit organization that works to promote the interests of businesses along a six-block stretch of Fenton Street and Georgia Avenue.

The board members are Solomon Abdella, Carmen Camacho, Lene Tsegaye, Susan Peterkin and Selam Tefera.

Silver Spring BID graphic

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