TN Merchants think BID

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With Business Improvement Districts the seeming wave of the future when it comes to shopping areas around the Bronx, the Throggs Neck Merchants Association has begun putting out feelers for what could be the Bronx’s largest BID by far.

At the August meeting of the TNMA at the Eastside Grill, John Bonizio, who is currently involved in the process of forming a bid in Westchester Square, spoke to the enthusiastic crowd of small business owners about the benefits BIDs bring to a commercial strip.

Key to the arguments Bonizio made in favor of BIDs is that there is a manager, hired by a board of directors, to oversee day-to-day operations that include advertising, street-cleaning, and improving store appearances so that individual merchants can concentrate on their own businesses.

“We are going to do a survey, which we haven’t even started, to get feedback from businesses and landlords about the possibility of forming a BID,” stated John Cerini, of Capital Shield Agency and TNMA president. “If we get positive feedback from the landlords and the merchants, we will run with it.”

Cerini’s plan to survey both merchants and landlords is important because the real estate tax increase, to fund the BID, is passed onto the businesses.

“Right now, your real estate tax payments are going into a big whole  -- the City’s general fund,” said Bonizio.

Bonizio pointed to the creation of the 3rd Avenue and E. 149th Street BID several years ago, which revitalized the area and now provides the area with about seven separate parking lots for their customers.

“I think that anything to improve the area is a good thing,” said Anthony Mancini, owner of Anthony’s Flower Farm at 3240 E. Tremont Ave. “I would look favorably on a Throggs Neck BID. Some stores on E. Tremont Ave. could be spruced up, and we could probably get better litter control on the street.”

While business owners may be keen on the concept of the BID, which is currently in the fetal stage, one area  landlord who owns a vast amount of commercial real estate on E. Tremont Ave. doesn’t like the prospect of higher real estate taxes, and is not for the BID.

“Property taxes have gone up 22% in the last three years,” landlord Cosmo Montemurro noted. “Any further increases would adversely affect me. If you look at my properties, you will see that they are all good looking. I can take care of improvements myself, and do not need my property taxes to go up anymore.”

To stop a BID from being approved by the city, property owners, representing more than 50% of the effected property, would have to oppose its creation.

More discussions on the possibility of a BID will be discussed at future meetings of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association. 

Updated 5:30 pm, October 21, 2011
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