What is a CBD?
A Community Benefit District (CBD) is a non-profit organization that funds special benefit services in a neighborhood through property assessments. Established by a vote of local property owners and formed through the city government, CBDs enable local business and community members to empower a single organization with improving the public space in ways beyond what individuals can manage.
In contrast to citywide services such as police, housing, water, etc., a CBD is designed to target problems particular to its community. These services solely benefit the community the CBD is based in, and assessments on local properties are the sole revenue base for the CBD’s activities. The funds are therefore used effectively and transparently for a very specific purpose, and CBD’s are required to have open board meetings and committee deliberations to ensure maximum accountability. CBD board members are also always comprised of local property owners, residents and business tenants.
The special benefits a CBD is allowed to fund include services beyond what the city already provides. They may not fund general city services, though the CBD gives local interests a unified outlet for requesting increased services from the city. Special benefits a CBD can provide include:
- Cleaning of the public rights of way, sidewalks and gutter (general vs. special benefit);
- Steam cleaning of the sidewalks of the district;
- Removal of trash and bulky material;
- Economic development;
- Special lighting;
- Business attraction and retention;
- Planning, zoning and land use issues;
- Graffiti removal;
- Administration and advocacy on behalf of neighborhoods
- Beautification and decorations;
- Tree maintenance, planting, watering, etc;
- Special community or neighborhood fairs, festivals or events;
As every parcel owner benefits from the streetscape and community-wide improvements of the CBD, no one is exempted from the district assessments. Assessments of property owners in the area are based on a number of factors, including land use and property size. These appear as a line item in county property tax bills. Following collection, the assessments are then distributed to the management corporation of the CBD. These assessment fees can only be increased on the basis of a predetermined rate of inflation or changes in land use on individual parcels.
For more detailed information on CBD formation, background history and intent, please click here.