New BID law unfair to businesses
To the editor:
I take issue with the Gazette’s recent editorial (“Stronger BID law has merit, Nov. 2) about the Northampton Business Improvement District (BID).
Consider the following facts:
1. The vast majority of business property owners chose not to join the BID.
2. In fact, more than 60 percent of all property owners, business or otherwise, chose not to join the BID.
3. Only a small minority of properties are BID members.
4. Under the recent amendments to the law, if more than half of the BID members vote to extend the BID for an additional five-year period, then all of the property owners within the area of the BID are automatically forced to become members, forced to pay large membership fees and will face the threat of a lien on their property if they fail to pay; all without any say.
In short, the law now allows a small minority of property owners within the boundaries of the BID the right to force the majority to join a BID that they have rejected. That is unacceptable.
The BID claims that non-members get a free ride. I disagree. The BID is not free and is a ride we don’t want to be forced to take. In fact, that is why I’ve joined a lawsuit to end this BID that the vast majority does not want.
I am one of those who worked hard with others to make downtown Northampton a desirable place to visit and live.
Downtown Northampton was a great place long before the BID existed and will be a great place long after it’s gone.