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Establish a Community Improvement District

Community/Businesses Improvement Districts can help downtowns raise revenue for improvements. Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council to learn more about how this tool can benefit your community.

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Tool Information


Goals

  1. Downtowns
  2. Tourism
  3. Marketing

Description

One of the biggest hurdles to improving downtown is a lack of funding to do so.  Cities are hard pressed to dedicate money to providing enhanced services in downtown areas. Forming a community improvement district or a business improvement district (C/BID)  provides a mechanism for downtown businesses and property owners to leverage resources and pay for physical improvements and clean and safe initiatives themselves.  Property owners can decide to form a C/BID in order to collect addition property or sales tax within the district to pay for improvements that benefit the district.  The State of Kansas approved the Community Improvement Act in 2009 enabling the creation of these districts. Community Improvement Districts are a way for businesses and property owners to voluntarily tax themselves in order to provide shared services and improvements beyond the standard city services in a targeted way. It enables neighborhoods or districts to pool their resources for mutual gain.

CID
Community Improvement Districts can pay for landscaping and "clean and safe" initiatives in addition to physical improvements.




Background

Community and Business Improvement Districts are a very popular mechanism to pay for improvements across the county. Many districts have been formed across the state.  Manhattan has two districts in Downtown and Aggieville.  The City of Wichita has six community improvement districts.  Although more common in the larger cities, these districts can also benefit smaller cities.  

In order to approve the district 55% of the owners within the districts in terms of land area and assessed value must support the formation of the district.  Although this tool is typically used to raise property and/or sales tax within the districts, it is a popular mechanism with many business owners because all of the additional revenue raised can be used to improve the district, which results in a net benefit for property owners in the district.



Additional Information

The following resources provide additional information about community improvement districts:
  • Gough, Mattew S.  "A Valuable New Development Resource: Kansas Enacts the Community Improvement District Act" The Journal of the Kansas Bar Association. February 2010. http://www.barberemerson.com/pdfs/kansas-community-improvement-district-act.pdf [pdf]
  • National Association of Development Organizations List of Vibrant Rural Communities Case Studies: http://www.nado.org/vibrant-rural-communities-case-study-series/



Implementation Strategy


Champions and Partners

  • Downtown Property Owners
  • Main Street Programs
  • Local Municipal Government

Timeframe

Short (1-3 years)

Cost

$$

Cost Details

Community Improvement Districts are very inexpensive to set up.  It is a matter of implementing a policy.  There may be additional costs associated with educating property owners and legal fees.  The 

Funding Sources

Community Improvement Districts are a mechanism for raising funds for downtown improvements.

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

  • Determine the boundary of the CID and engage property owners within the boundary.
  • Work with municipality to implement CID.

Case Study


Aggieville Business Improvement District Fund

The Aggieville Business Improvement District is an example of how downtown businesses can pool their resources to pay for improvements that benefit the district as a whole. Revenues supporting this fund are derived from a fee paid by Aggieville businesses within the established district. The fees are collected annually and are paid directly to the City. Expenditures from this fund are authorized for beautification of the Aggieville Business Improvement District, the upkeep of public facilities, promotional activities, and other services needed by the Aggieville Business Improvement District that are not performed on a city-wide basis.  Examples of improvements include paying for additional trash removal, sidewalk cleaning, snow removal, and seasonal decorations.

Relevance

The Aggieville business Improvement District Fund is an example of how B/CIDs can be used in the Flint Hills region.

 Image Credit: Wesley Fryer