NEW YORK — The New York City Council is expected to vote next week on whether to allow the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, along with the city’s 19 other BIDs, to raise its budget. The increase would allow the FCBID to go ahead with its plan to offer seven-day-a-week security services, up from its current five-day schedule.
The council’s finance committee Thursday approved the BID proposals to increase their budgets. BIDs are not financed by the city, but by an assessment paid by landlords. With the increased budget, the stipend paid by landlords and property owners would be raised. The city approves and collects the assessments, which are not voluntary.
The gain in the FCBID’s budget, which would be paid by landlords in the neighborhood bounded by Fifth and Ninth Avenues and West 35th to 41st Streets, would be the first in its eight-year history. It will raise the total budget from $3 million to $4 million, effective retroactively to July 1.
The BID intends to increase its security staff by nine people, to 22, including an additional supervisor to manage the weekend shifts. Randall said the shift to offering Saturday and Sunday service reflected the increasing practice of people in the district working weekends, as well as growing weekend foot traffic by small buyers at the side-street fabric stores.
The Giuliani administration had been routinely shooting down BID budget requests the last few years. Barbara Randall, executive director of the FCBID, wrote to Mayor Bloomberg on Jan. 2, the first full day of his administration, to propose the increase.
While Bloomberg has been reluctant to increase city spending in many areas, citing severe projected budget shortfalls, he has voiced no objections to the privately funded BIDs. His appointment of former 14th Street BID head Robert Walsh as commissioner of the Department of Business Services was taken as an early sign of the shifting City Hall position on BIDs.