The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) will be moving forward with its charter renewal this month. While board members would prefer a 10 year renewal term, BID voted to seek a five year term in response to feedback received from the community at its two stakeholders meeting and via survey submissions. “I’m personally for ten years, but the community said loud and clear they want the five years, ” said BID board member Clifton Jones. “We heard you.”
Several board members expressed that they still felt the advantages of seeking a 10 year term were not understood by property owners. BID board member Elizabeth Moselle pointed out that most business improvement districts go for a 10 year renewal term. Property owners are paying for “a lot of effort”, she said. Board member Bob Elfant agreed and noted that BID paid its executive director a bonus because of the additional time and labor involved in the process.
“It’s good to be questioned. That’s what happened this year and that’s what will happen five years from now.” BID Chair Ken Weinstein commented.
BID’s bylaws will stay the same as what was approved in the original charter. “No changes there,” Weinstein said. BID board members agreed to a sunset date of December 31, 2017. This would move BID’s fiscal year to a calendar year.
BID’s assessment will also remain at 18 percent and continue with the allowance to raise that rate up to an additional four percent. “We have not done that to date,” Weinstein stressed. BID will put language into its ordinance so that the association can recalculate that tax based on its budget when the city’s Board of Revision Taxes (BRT) eventually does its reassessment of property values. For example, BID’s current budget is $125,000, which comes from the 18 percent levy on the real estate tax assessed to commercial property owners along Germantown Avenue. If the BRT was to reassess property values tomorrow, BID would recalculate and adjust that levy against whatever changes come from BRT’s reassessment so that the budget would remain at $125,000. The association expects BRT to do its reassessment sometime within the next five years and anticipates that some property values may go up while others go down.
Elfant stated that the average assessment for a typical storefront is $350 a year, which he feels is a very reasonable tax for all of the cleaning and beautification projects that are done to enhance the commercial corridor. Weinstein said BID received no feedback expressing that property owners no longer wanted the association to exist.
Spring Clean Up Day And Other Matters Discussed
BID is gearing up for its Spring Clean Up Day this Saturday, April 14. The clean up event will meet at 8:45am at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Duval Street. Work will begin at 9am on the unit and 100 blocks of east and west Duval Street and last until 2pm. There will be police presence at the clean up and a barbecue for volunteers. Elfant stated that flyers have been distributed along the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue and on Duval Street. He noted that flyers were also distributed among Elfant Wissahickon realtors in hopes that some agents will also pitch in. “We’re hoping for a good turn out,” Elfant said.
Weinstein remarked on the recent rash of graffiti which neighbors have reported both on and off Germantown Avenue. BID’s Executive Director, Hollie Malamud-Price stated that the tags are currently being analyzed by 14th District Police. “They are trying to determine through their experts if this is gang related versus prankster related,” she said.
Three artists have already signed up to decorate the rain barrels BID has received from Philadelphia’s Water Department. BID has 15 barrels in total and would like to see more artist participation. BID is considering approaching the Germantown Artist Roundtable. BID hopes to have the barrels decorated and installed by mid-May.
BID’s signature spring planting will occur on Thursday, May 10 at 1pm and Friday, May 11 at 9am. Awbury Arboretum will provide professional help. Malamud-Price explained that the plantings will come in kits which will need to be delivered to locations along the avenue. BID is seeking volunteers to help with the plantings and with driving. Pamela MacElree, owner of Urban Athlete was in attendance and volunteered to transport planting kits. BID will start planting on the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue and work north. In preparation for spring, BID’s street cleaning crew has been spraying for weeds along the corridor with organic weed remover.
BID also announced that its Avenue Ambassador, Cookie Bundy will be getting married on May 5.