Montgomery County Council Enacts Authorization for Businesses in Downtown Silver Spring to Form a Business Improvement District

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Per Montgomery County;

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 27, 2021—Today the Council approved Bill 3-21 Special Taxing Area Laws – Silver Spring Business Improvement District – Established, which would create a business improvement district in Silver Spring to provide marketing and promotions for the district. The legislation was sponsored by Council President Tom Hucker and Councilmember Hans Riemer, and cosponsored by Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice. The Council enacted Bill 3-21 by a vote of 7-1 with Councilmember Will Jawando voting against the bill. Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee Chair Councilmember Nancy Navarro was unavoidably absent but voted to recommend approval of the bill to the full Council in the joint GO and Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee meeting on July 26.

“Silver Spring has a great comeback story — not by luck, but by investment and commitment from the County and its residents,” said Council President Hucker. “The County government has a responsibility to provide the tools necessary for Silver Spring to compete in the region and build upon revitalization efforts. I’m confident this bill will help Silver Spring, and I’m committed to working with small business owners and residents to ensure the community receives the continued investment and resources it needs.”

“Montgomery County has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Silver Spring, and we are proud of how it is diverse, prosperous, and growing,” said Councilmember Riemer. “Silver Spring has also outgrown the model that we have been using to promote the area. It is time to let the private sector step into a role that it can do best. After a year of careful work, we will begin the process of creating a BID to reinvigorate the office market and provide more support for our small businesses. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders in Silver Spring to ensure that all our businesses and residents can continue to grow and prosper. Following on the BID legislation’s passage, we will take up the idea of creating a ‘Main Street’ program for the smallest businesses in Silver Spring as well as other applicable business districts in the County. I am confident this will be a winning example of public-private partnership.”

“The Council’s support of Bill 3-21 creates a tool to invigorate economic momentum in Silver Spring by responding to the concerns of businesses and residents who want to see Silver Spring achieve its maximum potential,” said Councilmember Navarro. “This bill creates a Business Improvement District that will be focused solely on marketing and promotion efforts for the area, while allowing the Silver Spring Urban District to concentrate on maintaining clean and safe operations. This public-private partnership can serve as a model for other activity centers in the County that have flourishing economic centers that need targeted assistance to help them keep thriving. As GO chair, I am happy to support this bill, and I look forward to continued discussions with my colleagues about more ways to support our businesses across the County.”

“Today’s Council action marks the beginning of a new era for Silver Spring which is critical for Montgomery County’s economic success,” said Councilmember Friedson. “The new BID will build upon Silver Spring’s many strengths and focus new energy on marketing and placemaking to support local businesses and ensure Silver Spring remains a premier community to live, work and play in the region.”

Bill 3-21 seeks to form a Silver Spring Business Improvement District (SS BID) for all the businesses of the Silver Spring Urban District (SSUD) to deliver services aimed at promoting the economic growth of Downtown Silver Spring. Its aim is to enhance the work of the SSUD and the Silver Spring Regional Services Center to maintain the area’s competitive edge and help it reach its growing economic potential.

Accordingly, Bill 3-21 would:

  • establish a business improvement district in Silver Spring to provide marketing and promotions for the district;
  • establish guidelines for the SS BID;
  • establish a district that has the same boundaries as the Silver Spring Urban District;
  • continue to require the Silver Spring Urban District to provide clean and safe services for the SS BID under its existing authority.

The bill requires a nine-member board of directors for the business improvement district that includes three owners of property assessed at more than $20 million, two owners of property assessed at $20 million or less, one business employing more than 50 employees in the district, and three businesses employing 50 or less employees in the district. The legislation also authorizes a tax on nonexempt property located in the district to finance the operations of the district corporation.

The Council staff report for Bill 3-21 can be found here

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