The Throggs Neck Business Improvement District was approved by the community board.
On Wednesday, June 27, Community Board 10 voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Throggs Neck BID during a public hearing at the Fort Schuyler House.
“The board is excited for the opportunities the BID can unveil for this community,” said CB10 district manager, Matt Cruz.
Advocates for the BID, the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, shook hands, applauded and breathed sighs of relief as chair of the board, Peter Sullivan, announced the vote.
While the community board’s support for the BID was expected, a few of the merchants on the effort’s steering committee were relieved that they could now cross off ‘community board vote’ from their checklist.
“A lot of hard work went into getting this vote,” said TNMA president and BID steering committee member, Bobby Jaen.
“This has all been about making this neighborhood better, secure and safe,” Jaen continued.
The Throggs Neck BID still has to be reviewed and voted on by a few more entities before it becomes official.
The BID will be headed to a vote by the City Planning Board and then to the City Council, before it gets reviewed by the comptroller’s office and signed into law by the mayor.
The reason Jaen and other advocates considered this step a small victory was because of the time and effort it took to rally support for the BID.
While there has not been much else for advocates of the BID, the merchants and the BID steering committee, to do as they await approval from the council and the Mayor, they said they will continue to reach out to new merchants and property owners that come to the neighborhood.
“I think the community voted in recognition of all the good the BID can do,” said Anthony Basso, another member of the steering committee.
“We want to keep the neighborhood clean and build up the retail trade in the area,” he continued.
During the meeting, Bobby Jaen and Steve Kaufman, TNMA legal advisor, explained the budget of the BID, how it would be accessed, who would pay into it, and what the funds would be used for.
The BID, when officially enacted, would have a yearly budget of $340,000 collected through property assessments.
The BID plans to use the money to hire a director, street cleaning, the purchase of 360-degree-range security cameras, and nighttime sidewalk lighting.
While some were skeptical that the increased BID fees would actually add to the hardships that drive out mom-and-pop shops, Kaufman and Jaen assured the board that the BID’s job is to help small business thrive.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj, a longtime advocate for small businesses and BIDs, attended the meeting to support the Throggs Neck BID.
Gjonaj said the community should be more worried about the $1.9 billion increase in property taxes in the NYC budget, set for the fiscal year which started on July 1, which will trickle down to being paid for by small business owners as commercial tenants.
BIDs act as a defense system for small businesses against the onslaught of the big-box retailers, Gjonaj claimed.