Feb. 13, 2020 By Ryan Brady
The City Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday unanimously voted for a bill that would significantly expand the Flushing Business Improvement District.
The legislation — sponsored by committee Chairman Daniel Dromm, who represents Jackson Heights and Elmhurst — will advance to the full Council.
The Flushing BID provides supplemental sanitation services to its constituent businesses, acts as a liaison between the business group and city agencies, and pushes public officials to invest in the area. It also publishes guides to the neighborhood and does beautification work.
The city collects a fee from the property owners (usually paid for by their tenants) in the area to fund the services, a policy that the new legislation would authorize in the expansion area.
Right now, the BID includes Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue, 40th Road from Main to Prince Street, Roosevelt Avenue from Union Street to College Point Boulevard, Kissena Boulevard from Sanford to 41st Avenue and 39th Avenue from Main to College Point.
Under the expansion, the BID would cover Main from Northern to Franklin Avenue, 37th Avenue from College Point to Union, Union from 37th to Roosevelt, 138th Street from 37th to 39th Avenue, Prince from 30th Avenue to 40th Road, 38th Avenue from Prince to Union, 41st Road from College Point to Main and 41st Avenue from College Point to Main.
Flushing BID Executive Director Dian Yu said he’s “thrilled” with the committee’s vote. He had worked for five years to gain the support of 51 percent of the property owners on the blocks where the district would be expanded to–as required by the city.
He also thanked Flushing Councilmember Peter Koo for helping the expansion efforts politically. “We could not have done it without his support on this project,” Yu said.
Owing to a grant from the city Department of Small Business Services, a small section of the proposed expansion area has already received sidewalk cleaning from the BID along with the other services that they may soon get later this year.
Yu expects the Council to pass the bill next month, and for the BID expansion to have taken effect by July.
The Flushing BID executive director also said that about 70 percent of the businesses in the expansion zone would be paying less than $1,000 annually.
The bill would increase the group’s annual funding from $380,000 to about $1 million. Since being founded in 2003, the group’s budget hasn’t increased. But, Yu noted, the same hasn’t been true for the challenges facing small businesses.
“The minimum wage has gone up so much and the rent continues to go up as well,” he said. “The cost of doing business continues to increase.”
Community Board 7 had approved the BID expansion plan last June.