Program Description:

Business Improvement Districts (BID) are special districts in which property owners vote to initiate, manage and finance supplemental services above and beyond the baseline of services already provided by their city or town governments.  To finance these services, a special assessment, or common area fee, is levied only on property within the district.  The goal of a BID is to restore or promote business activity in targeted commercial areas.  The assessments are collected and expended within the district for a range of management, marketing and economic development services and programs including:

District Management Services,
Maintenance and Security,
Promotion and Marketing Services,
Business Services, and
Physical Improvements and Property Management

A BID creates a stable local management structure that provides a sustainable funding source for the revitalization and long-term maintenance of downtowns and commercial centers.  There are three primary advantages of a BID: 1) the ability to provide additional and enhanced services that improve the business environment; 2) the capability of professional management of retail and commercial services, similar to those offered in a mall, that enhance the district and strengthen a municipality's economic capacity; and 3) a predictable and reliable source of funding.

How it Works:

Communities are authorized to establish BIDs under M.G.L. Chapter 40O.  A BID must be a contiguous geographic area in which at least 75% of the land is zoned or used for commercial, retail, industrial, or mixed uses.  A BID is established through a local petition and public hearing process.  The petition must be signed by the owners of at least 60% of the real property and at least 51% of the assessed valuation of the real property within the proposed BID.  The petition must also include delineation of the BID boundaries, a proposed improvement plan, a budget and an assessment/fee structure.  The BID petition must be forwarded by the municipality to DHCD.

All property owners within the BID are assessed a fee in addition to their real property taxes to fund the supplemental services and programs.  The treasurer-collector of the municipality collects the fees and distributes them to the management entity designated by the BID.  The amount of the fee is established by each BID but cannot annually exceed one-half of one percent (.05) of the total assessed value of the real property owned by participating members of the district.  The BID has the option to limit or cap this maximum fee on individual properties or the total annual revenue generated by the BID.  The municipality may exempt owner-occupied residential, agricultural or tax exempt properties from the BID fee.

For More Information:

Please contact DHCD's Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400.  Division staff is also available to provide technical assistance to communities considering the establishment of a BID to support their downtown revitalization activities and to ensure compliance with statutory documents.