What is the Hollywood Media District BID?
A BID or “Property-Based Business Improvement District”, is a self-imposed and self-governed benefit assessment district that finances enhanced services. A BID is “self-imposed” in that it requires affected property owners to sign petitions and ballots in order to form the district. It is “self-governed” in that the property and business owner Board of the Hollywood Media District, a non-profit organization, makes BID program and management decisions.
Is the Hollywood Media District unique in having a BID?
No. BIDs exist throughout the United States and Canada, as well as South Africa (21), Brazil (2), Albania (2) and Serbia (2). New York has the most BIDs (45+), with Toronto being second (40+) and Los Angeles coming in third (30+). Worldwide, there are approximately 800 BIDs in 6 countries. The United States has 429+ and Canada has 340+. Property-based BIDs were initiated in California after enabling legislation was approved in 1995. There are now more than 70 BIDs in the State, including more than 30 in Los Angeles business districts alone. More and more, BIDs are viewed as an effective tool to help business districts compete in an increasingly challenging market.
What are area specific programs?
In a Business Improvement District, a special assessment pays for programs and services, which are tailored to the area defined by representatives of the BID. A variety of activities and improvements are authorized for BIDs and defined by state law. Collectively, these services, activities and programs are referred to as “improvements.”
What services does the BID provide?
The BID finances services that are over and above the basic services provided by local government. These services include uniformed Safety Patrols on bicycles and in our own Security vehicle and litter pick-up, sidewalk scrubbing and graffiti removal by uniformed Maintenance Teams. In addition to these “Clean & Safe” services, the BID provides funds for community improvement and advocacy initiatives that work to improve the District’s business climate and overall quality of life, as well as advocating on behalf of the property owners collectively.
I already pay taxes! Why pay more for the BID?
Your general property and sales taxes pay for services that are distributed throughout the City and region. Unlike these general tax dollars, 98% of the BID assessments come back to the District for special projects and services that are enjoyed only by the District. In addition, the City of Los Angeles has a citywide policy that they will continue to provide BIDs with the same basic service as they provide to other business districts.
What is the City’s role in providing these improvements?
The City’s primary role is to exercise its municipal authority to levy the assessment on behalf of the BID community. By having the City assess all affected parties, the BID receives funds from everyone benefiting from the improvements. The City is also authorized to audit or otherwise review the financial condition of the BID. In this way, the City assists the BID membership with oversight and review so that the special assessment is used according to the intentions of the business community.
What are the advantages to forming a BID?
There are several advantages to forming a BID:
- A cleaner, safer and more attractive business district
- A steady and reliable funding source for supplemental services and programs
- The ability to quickly respond to the changing needs of the business community
- The potential to increase property values, improve sales and decrease commercial vacancy rates
- A district that is better able to compete with nearby retail and business centers
What are BID programs and services paid for?
Funds to pay for BID programs and services are generated from a special assessment paid by the benefiting property owners. The assessment is billed and collected by the City of Los Angeles and then disbursed to the BID, which in turn delivers the district’s services.
What is a BID assessment?
A BID assessment is a fee that each property owner pays to support the operations of the BID. The sums of all the individual assessments that property owners pay comprise the yearly assessment of the BID and annual operating budget. The total yearly assessment is unique to each BID.
Will City services be reduced if the BID is providing similar services?
No. The services provided by the BID are supplemental to the services provided to the district by the City. The City must maintain a baseline level of service to all areas regardless of the presence of a BID.
Who oversees the BID?
A Board of Directors that is elected by the members of the district governs each BID. The Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility to the BID and hires the management that administers the BID on a day-to-day basis. The BID’s Board of Directors may choose to hire staff, an independent consultant or other entities to administer the BID. Generally, the programs to be provided by a BID are initially determined by the community and are selected based on community needs and desires. The process of determining community needs and desires typically involves the development of questionnaires, which are mailed to all business or property owners in the proposed district. Focus groups and telephone surveys are also frequently used to determine community priorities. Based upon the ranked responses of the community, a picture begins to emerge which illustrates what the collective community desires. Costs associated with delivering the most wanted improvements then form the basis for the eventual BID assessment amount. The process involves offering options and considering the affordability of program delivery to those who would pay the assessment; eventually a compromise is reached which, again through surveys, interviews, questionnaires and community feedback, satisfies the majority of the proposed members.
Where can I get more information about the citywide BID program?
A large amount of information regarding BIDs in the City of Los Angeles may be examined including reference materials, City council actions, BID reports and newsletters and information videotapes. The city council directed the Office of the City Clerk to serve as the primary agency regarding the BID Program. The City Clerk’s Administrative Services Division, through its Special Assessments Unit, manages the Program and provides various types of assistance and information to interested parties. The City Clerk’s Administrative Services Division is located at:
200 N. Spring Street, Room 224
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Voice (213) 978-1099,
Fax (213) 978-1130
TDD/TTY (213) 978-1132
Why should I agree to assess myself?
Reduced budgets and limited funding to support localized improvements in cities throughout California are a reality. By forming a BID, the property owners generate their own funding for maintenance and improvements and determine how the money is spent within the BID boundaries. All funding is returned to the area as determined by the Board of Directors, which puts property owners in the driver’s seat when it comes to improving a community.
Isn’t this just another tax?
No. BID assessments are not taxes. BID assessments are vehicles that convey a special benefit upon those who pay. While it is true that all affected parties in a given district must pay the assessment, it is important to remember that the BID was established through the consent of a majority of those involved. The city does not attempt to establish a BID where there is not a substantial amount of support from the community. Because the formation of a BID is primarily a community driven project, the City serves as a facilitator in the process. The City is willing to help those communities who desire to help themselves.
What if a BID is formed and does not live up to members’ expectations?
The state laws regarding both merchant and property based business improvement districts contain provisions for identifying the components of the BID including boundaries, improvements or activities provided, and other elements. In addition, both laws do allow for the disestablishment of the district under certain conditions. BIDs are not permanent institutions.
Does the Hollywood Media District have to comply with Senate Bill 272, CA Public Records Act?
Yes. Approved on October 11, 2015, Senate Bill (SB) 272 adds a section to the California Public Records Act requiring local agencies to create a catalog of enterprise systems by July 1, 2016, with annual updates. Enterprise System A software application or computer system that collects, stores, exchanges and analyzes information that the agency uses that is both of the following: A multi-departmental system or a system that contains information collected about the public. A system that serves as an original source of data within an agency. An Enterprise System does not include any of the following: Information Technology security systems, including firewalls and other cyber security systems. Physical access control systems, employee identification management systems, video monitoring and other physical control systems. Infrastructure and mechanical control systems, including those that control or manage streetlights, electrical, natural gas or water or sewer functions. Systems related to 9-1-1 dispatch and operation or emergency services. Systems that would be restricted from disclosure by Section 6254.19. The specific records that the information technology system collects, stores, exchanges or analyzes. Exception If the public interest served by not disclosing the information described clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure, the local agency may instead provide a system name, brief title or identifier of the system.