Monday, March 12, 2012

Business Improvement District bill before the House; big issue for Downtown Jackson

HB 968 is on the House's general calendar, and should be called up this week.  It would remove some of the more onerous provisions of the laws that allow for the creation of business improvement districts across Mississippi.  BIDs, as they are known, are areas where property owners vote to tax themselves for improvements and services provided within the district.  Downtown Jackson Partners runs the Downtown Jackson BID, providing additional security, beautification, community-building, and marketing efforts on top of those provided by the City of Jackson.  DJP has been successful, and was recently reauthorized by Downtown Jackson property owners.

The current legislation is onerous, though, as BIDs must be reauthorized every 5 years by 70% of property owners.  And that's 70% of all property owners, not just those choosing to vote. HB 968 would lower the required majority to 60% of the participating property owners, and extend the re-authorization period from 5 years to 10 years.

This is good legislation, as many areas in Mississippi that would benefit from BIDs are dealing with absentee landlords who refuse to participate in the process.  DJP has worked wonders for Downtown Jackson, and other areas of the state could benefit from similar entities.  Here's hoping HB 968 makes its way through the Legislature.

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