Wednesday, August 31, 2011

....and another thing....... (a property owner sets the record straight about the Chinatown BID)

To the editor:
Re: Support the Chinatown B.I.D. (Downtown Express editorial, July 20)
We, the Chinatown B.I.D. opponents, do not believe the Chinatown B.I.D. steering committee’s claim that everyone will be paying a small amount for large benefits. Their own formation documents lay the keys to their power and their ability to increase their collection of much more money from the taxpayers if they so desired.
This fine print in the B.I.D. (Chinatown B.I.D. N110156BDM Source of Funding) places the property owners in the vulnerable position of potentially being liable for increases up to 20 percent. An additional 20 percent in taxes is a frightening prospect for anyone, let alone for small property owners who have had to pay steadily increasing property taxes, increased water bills, increased utility bills, increased fuel bills, increased maintenance costs, and comply with Local Law 11 (periodic inspections of building fa├žades).
If the B.I.D. is mismanaged and fails, the B.I.D.’s proponents can smile with their hands in the till, while the property owners are stuck scrambling to pay the bill ad infinitum. If the property owner cannot pay for the levied taxes assessed by the B.I.D., they will lose their property!
Considering how the pro-B.I.D. organizers have prevented their opponents from legally voicing their opposition to the B.I.D., attempted to distort their own ballot results, and bashed us in the press when we have tried to educate the community about a B.I.D., how can we trust them? We cannot. Therefore it is likely they will use similar deceptive tactics in the future when attempting to persuade the City Council to increase their B.I.D. fees up to 20 percent, maximum, if they so desired. At that point, the property owners and businesses will be devastated!
Unlike other B.I.D.s, which have many large properties or a large number of commercial tenants that can help offset the costs, many of the Chinatown properties are small. There is a limit as to how much the owners and businesses can realistically afford the B.I.D. fees/taxes before pulling up stakes — thereby leaving fertile ground for developers who will, in essence, force the small businesses and Chinatown residents out. The B.I.D. is steering our Chinatown community not toward boom, but bust!
Eugene Leung, Mott St.

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