Wouldn’t it be great if you and your neighbors could all chip in $5 to get the city to fill those nagging potholes quicker? Well you can…sort of. Commercial areas in California can form Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) — recently rechristened “Community Benefits Districts” (CBDs) — to create a new tax assessment and pay for supplemental services that are traditionally provided by local government.

This includes services as innocuous as additional street sweeping and graffitti clean-up, but also more substantial things like private security and public restrooms. CBDs/BIDs are created cooperatively between the local jurisdiction and local property owners, with the weighted majority of those paying the additional tax needed to form the district. All property owners that benefit from the additional services, including businesses, government, nonprofits, and residents, pay the additional assessment.

The following map shows the location of the nine CBDs/BIDs currently in force in Oakland. Combined, these districts budgeted over $3.9 million in improvement to the public realm in 2010. Locally, create of these entities is enabled by the Oakland Business Improvement Management District (Ord. 12190).

Oakland_BIDs

The creation of a CBD/BID begins when property owners who would pay over 30% of the potential tax author an adequate District Plan and then petition the City Council to create the district. After a public hearing, all property owners that would be subject to the assessment can cast a vote for or against, and if a weighted majority approve, the CBD/BID is created. The associated tax generally lasts for 5-10 years before needing to be renewed, and typically District fnds are managed by a nonprofit established by property owners. A financial report and budget by the fund manager is subject to aproval by the City Council each year.

Download A Zip File of the map in High Resolution