San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 02/25/14, 6:24 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Downtown property owners will meet Thursday to discuss banding together to charge themselves an assessment and use the money to make the area clean and safe.

The San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce is helping host the meeting at 7:30 a.m. at its office at 546 W. 6th St. to consider Property Based Improvement Districts, which officials say are an effective tool to improve an area.

“PBIDs are good news for cities,” said Colin Strange, the chamber’s director of business services. “It makes the property values rise, it cuts down crime, people like to be there because there’s petunias there.”

Areas of cities across the state use the districts, including the San Bernardino Auto Center, with the city acting only as an intermediary but not keeping any of the money.

They are voted in and taxes are assessed based on whatever definition the property owners in a specific order decide — square feet or number of employees, for example — and require a renewal vote every five years. Once put in place, property owners vote more than 95 percent of the time to continue the assessment when it comes up for renewal every five years, Strange said.

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