Watertown’s downtown property owners want to know about Business Improvement District

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 3:55 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - We know more details about downtown Watertown's proposed Business Improvement District.

Joe Wessner of the Watertown Downtown Business Association says if the drive to form a Business Improvement District also know as a BID is successful, a $100,000 to $110,000 budget would be collected each year to go toward improving downtown.

"It will bring commerce up, it will bring property values up and hopefully it will make downtown a better place to live a better place to work; a better place to hang out and play," he said.

The money would come from downtown commercial property owners and be collected with city taxes, but the Downtown Business Association, or DBA, is still working out who will be charged what.

"The levy for the bid is based on the assessed value of the building and then we will be looking into a formula of square footage on the ground because the ground based businesses are the ones that are going to be getting the most benefit from it," said Wessner.

The BID money would be used to do four things downtown: keep it clean; make it more secure; marketing, and help new and old downtown businesses succeed.

We spoke to seven business owners who say although they have heard about the BID, they still had questions and wanted to know more.

"I would like to hear more details about how it works. If the idea is that we put in some of our own money and we make make more money because of it, then I think everyone would be in favor of that," said Matt Strader, owner of Cam's Pizzeria.

Before a final proposal is put together, the DBA will be hosting a public meeting in February. Before the proposal can be brought to city council, 51 percent of downtown property owners have to vote in favor.

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