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Renewing the MID

MID boundaryThe Council passed legislation to renew and expand the Metropolitan Improvement District  (MID) on May 6.

The Metropolitan Improvement District is a business improvement area that provides a variety of programs Downtown, funded through an assessment on Downtown properties. The programs include cleaning, safety, marketing, business development and research, and transit, bike and parking services. The current MID was established for a 10-year period in 2004 by the City Council.

The new version of the MID, also approved for 10 years, will expand into Belltown, and additional areas in Pioneer Square.

In the past, efforts to establish a separate Belltown Improvement District failed due to lack of support. This effort involved Belltown becoming part of an expanded MID. I heard both support and opposition from people in Belltown.

To address the concerns of some Belltown residents and businesses, I proposed four amendments in the May 1 meeting of the Government Performance and Finance Committee, working with them, and with the Downtown MID. The amendments:

1)      Broaden the advisory board to specify that it must include a Belltown condo resident, Belltown commercial property owner, and a (non-voting) small business owner;

2)      State the council’s authority to modify boundaries, per state law;

3)      Attach the MID Business Plan,  which describes the Belltown Program Implementation , and adds a specific mention of law enforcement to the to the “Safety Outreach and Hospitality” subsection of the Programs section;

4)      Requests that the City Auditor conduct a performance audit of the MID’s services three years after implementation, with a focus on assessing whether Belltown has received the services described in the MID business plan.

I believe these changes effectively address the concerns some Belltown residents and property owners have expressed.

The new MID is scheduled to begin operations on July 1. More information is available at the MID website at http://www.downtownseattle.com/mid/.

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