Ever wondered what BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) do? Or how much they raise and from where? A real insight comes from the New York City Department of Small Business Services 145 page 2016 Business Improvement Districts Trends Report that is now available.

There are 73 BIDs in New York City, including 35 in low to middle income neighbourhoods. 85,000 businesses are part of the BID areas, almost 30,000 of them being retailers. The BIDs cover 4,108 blocks of the city. During the 2016 fiscal year they received $105.8 million in assessment income and a further $28 million came from other sources (including fundraising, contracts, programme service revenue and grants).

The report highlights some differences in the income sources of BIDs with different budgets. For BIDs with a total income of under $250k per annum, 92% came from levy payers whilst this fell to only 74% for BIDs with an income over $5 million per annum. This fall was not uniform across budget bands, being 84% for BIDs in the $250-500k band, 83% in the $500k - $1million, and 89% in the $1-5 million band. The largest BIDs raised 10% of their income from fundraising (just 1% for the smallest band), and 9% from contracts (plaza maintenance contracts, concession contracts and the like).

BIDs spent $134.7 million in the year. 25% of this was on sanitation, 16.5% on public safety, 13.6% on other programmes (including social services, business development and debt service costs), 13.5% on marketing, 8.1% on streetscape and beautification (maintaining 126 public spaces), 4.9% on capital improvements, 1.2% on holiday lighting (just under $1.5 million), 10.7% on salaries and payroll (779 full time posts), 5.7% on other general and administrative costs (rent, office supplies, insurance etc) and 2% on outside contractors.

What do BIDs in New York do?

The report defines a BID as a ‘geographical area where local stakeholders oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement and promotion of their commercial district’.

As part of this service, each day in New York City BIDs collect, on average, 10,800 bags of rubbish, remove 233 incidents of graffiti, have 5,752 interactions with visitors, hold 12 public events, distribute 10,036 marketing materials, and gain 1,084 social media followers.

The report contains many examples of projects undertaken by BIDs from installing solar powered trash compactors to building capacity in rodent mitigation, from developing mobile apps to store front design competitions and from neighbourhood market research to merchant workshops that a useful source of ideas for all place management initiatives.