QUEENS — A business improvement district has been proposed for Woodside in order to combat dirty streets in the neighborhood — but some locals say they are worried that the fees collected for the district would be the equivalent of another tax.
Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said the area has been struggling with excessive garbage, graffiti and a lack of maintenance, spurring the push for the BID.
“We also want to see more advertising for the community in order to bring people here,” he said.
The attempt to create the BID is one of the latest efforts to clean up the Woodside area. Earlier this month Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer allocated $250,000 for a pigeon mitigation system, which will be used around three subway stations in Woodside and Sunnyside where bird droppings have become a serious problem.
A group of formerly homeless who is getting help from the Doe Fund, has also began cleaning the area.
Currently, there are 67 BIDs in the city — organizations that are made up of business owners who pay a special assessment for services like sanitation, maintenance, public safety, marketing or beautification for the area.
Two options are being considered for Woodside — a traditional one and BID Express, a new model that takes less time to create and allows BIDs to share some overhead expenses. But its services are limited to basic tasks like sanitation and maintenance.
It’s up to the business owners which model they will choose.
Typically a small business owner pays about $400 a year towards a BID, according to Conley. In case of BID Express, this cost could be significantly reduced.
While many local business owners are excited about the idea, some also have been concerned, Conley said.
“We are already directly taxed for sanitation, the Parks Department and Transportation,” said David Rosasco, chair of the Woodside Neighborhood Association, during a meeting Monday about the BID in Woodside. “We also already have the graffiti removal project, so what would be we be getting out of the BID?”
Chris Goddard of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, which assists BIDs, said the services were going to “supplement, not replace any of those services” provided by the city.
“The BID offers that extra level of sanitation, like sweeping your sidewalk or getting the snow away," lack of which often leads to ticketing, he said.
He also added that money that goes to BIDs gets back directly to business owners in the area who decide how to use their funds.