TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL: VOTE DOWN THE BID TAX IN OLD TOWN
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To Mayor Silberberg, Vice Mayor Wilson and Alexandria City Councillors:
We, the undersigned, DO NOT support the proposal as written for the establishment of an Old Town Alexandria BID (Business Improvement District).
It should not be incumbent on business owners to fund cleanup, marketing and programming for the City. Residents would not be assessed additional taxes, (unless they volunteer to pay them to become a "Class B" voting member of the BID) absolving them of the financial burden of funding the proposed goals.
Businesses currently pay business property taxes as well as a business license fee, already hefty burdens. Another tax would be a strain on small businesses which already run on a very small margin. A reallocation of these taxes and other financial support from within the present City budget should be looked at to fund the BID program in lieu of added assessments on business owners. Old Town is a different City model commercially in that Old Town's business and commercial property owners number 700-800 individuals. This is significantly different than other local entities with BIDs which are comprised of much fewer parties.
The 20-25 member board as proposed is too large to accomplish tangible results quickly. Also, the significant "administrative" costs of personnel, rent and equipment budgeted at $355,000.00 for the year are excessive. Though this would be a 501c6 corporation, another top-heavy organization, this time funded solely by the City's businesses, is not what Alexandria needs at this time. We want Alexandria's small, independent businesses to survive and not be choked out by tax bills. Let's not let Old Town become the next Georgetown.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
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