From the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs:
"An improvement district is a defined area, generally in the central business district of a downtown or a mixed-use corridor in a larger city, that is authorized by state law and created by an ordinance of the local government to collect a special assessment on the commercial properties and/or businesses in that area. That assessment is granted to a municipally-assigned District Management Corporation (DMC).
This entity is typically a non-profit organization, separate and distinct from the municipality itself. The DMC, which is typically governed by a board comprised of at least 50%+1 business & property owner stakeholders, sets the agenda, priority, and initiatives of the organization, in addition to hiring and supervising staff, and determining the annual budget and assessment amount. In a sense, the business community becomes self-governing: private resources from the stakeholders are assessed and used as determined by the businesses to fulfill what they see as the greatest needs of the downtown area.
The improvement district (whether "business," or "special," or "downtown" or some other name) is a model for management of the municipal commercial corridor. It is authorized by state law (the Pedestrian Mall and Special Improvement District Act, N.J.S.A. 40:56-65, et seq.) to be formed by ordinance in any municipality in New Jersey. The improvement district provides a mechanism for the businesses of a community to organize as a single entity, to raise funds for activities that supplement municipal services, and to manage themselves to become a more effective shopping/dining/commercial destination. The Improvement District itself is effectively a boundary of affected properties and businesses, and is defined by municipal ordinance."
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Over the last five years, Main Street (Downtown) Bernardsville has worked diligently to revitalize Bernardsville's commercial district. While we have been tremendously effective in this work, we seek a more robust, stable funding mechanism to achieve more impactful economic development results. This program would allow us to hire paid staff (a Main Street NJ program requirement) and consistently provide events, services, and beautification projects for long-term benefits to the community.
We do! Thanks to our generous community, we have received donations and sponsorships to allow our events and programming to operate. We have also received grants to support our local projects such as the Murals on Mount Airy Road and upcoming History Walking Tour project. BID funding will provide opportunities to grow our staff, offer technical assistance and grants to our business community, conduct widespread efforts to clean up sidewalks, enhance walkability and safety in the commercial district, activate spaces for gathering and connectivity, and so much more.
No. Only commercial properties in the designated district will be assessed.
No. An improvement district is an assessment, of which 100% of the funds are spent for the purpose of the program. Taxes, other than school taxes, can be distributed among many areas for the municipality.
Businesses are not being charged directly. Commercial property owners would be charged the assessment and it is their discretion to pass it on to businesses in your lease agreement.
As currently proposed, the full assessment, should it be charged, averages to $1,750 per property, per year. If a property has 3 businesses renting in the space, a landlord may distribute this assessment evenly among the three businesses. Individually that would be $583 per year.
Absolutely. View the spreadsheet here. Locate your property address, property value, and estimated full assessment in the sheet.
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