As expected, the City Council overwhelmingly approved a bill this week establishing a Business Improvement District for downtown Flushing.
After the Council's Finance Committee backed the proposal by a vote of 12-0 Tuesday morning, the full Council gave a green light to the BID by a lopsided tally of 43-1 in the afternoon.
"The BID will raise the standards in Flushing, the standards for people who work here, the standards for people who live here, who shop here, who visit here," said Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) one of the BID's main advocates. "This will help the enormous potential that Flushing has, not only to the local community, but the city at large as well."
The legislation is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the next two weeks.
In a Business Improvement District, property owners in the district's area must pay an annual assessment in exchange for increased services.
In the case of the Flushing BID, about 300 property owners would pay $380,000 a year for additional trash pickups and holiday lighting.
Ever since the Flushing Chamber of Commerce proposed the idea 17 years ago, community leaders have called for a BID in downtown Flushing, saying the transportation hub is overwhelmed with trash, which detracts from the area.
Past BID plans for Flushing failed when property owners, who must approve such proposals, came out against them.
This time around landlords supported the plan, with about 75 percent of them speaking in its favor, Liu said.
Some property owners, however, questioned whether or not Liu's figures on the favorable sentiment behind the BID were correct.
A group of owners formed an organization called Flushing Landlords Federation Against BID, contending the BID proposal lacked support.
The area of the BID includes Main Street from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue from Prince Street to Union Street, 39th Avenue from College Point Boulevard to 138th Street and Kissena Boulevard from 41st Avenue to Sanford Avenue.
Councilman Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica) was the only member of the City Council to vote against the BID.
Jennings had originally supported a BID for Sutphin Boulevard in his own district. But after the City Council voted for an 18.5 percent property tax increase for the city, Jennings said property owners could not afford any additional payments and has since said he does not support any BIDs for the city.
Other City Council members, however, spoke in favor of the BID.
"I think it shows the recognition of Flushing as an important economic development area and an important business hub not only for Queens but the entire city," said Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), chairman of the Council's Finance Committee.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
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