Patrick Edwards is president of San Diego’s business improvement district council, a coalition of the 17 business improvement districts throughout the city. Edwards appeared before the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee on Wednesday, March 16, with complaints that the City isn’t transferring funds to each business district on time.
The districts are composed of businesses in older commercial areas. Each business pays an assessment of $50 to $500 per year to the City. That money gets funneled back to the local business-improvement district and is spent on marketing, recruiting new businesses, and beatification projects along the business corridor. The businesses in the 17 districts pay a total of $1.3 million in assessments each year.
Edwards says the districts aren’t getting their money on time and are often unaware of how much money they have in the bank. As a result, many of the districts are overdrawing their accounts. In the third quarter this fiscal year, North Park’s business improvement district spent $12,000 more than they had, and El Cajon Boulevard business improvement district overspent by $17,000.
“Any delay in reimbursement is causing the [districts] to spend money that they really don’t have,” Edwards told the committee. “Direct access to the capital is critical to the success of the [business-improvement] districts.”
After Edwards gave his comments, executive directors from many of the 17 business districts spoke to the successes in their individual business districts.
“It’s an issue that’s impacting our bids, and we do take that very seriously,” said councilmember Todd Gloria. “These are the organizations that are improving our communities.”
Committee chair Marti Emerald informed Edwards that the committee would address the concerns during their next meeting on April 13.