Presently before City Council is a bill to expand the area subject to assessment of additional tax to subsidize the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District. The plan calls for a new tax assessment against all residential properties in the unit blocks along Germantown Avenue from Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cresheim Avenue that are not owner occupied.
The current boundaries include properties that front Germantown Ave. from Rex Ave. to Cresheim Ave. and the Hill House apartment building on W. Evergreen Ave. The re-authorization Bill #130955 presented by Councilwoman Cindy Bass and now under consideration by City Council also extends the BID renewal from five to ten years.
The leadership of the Business Improvement District (BID) has stated that the increased area will provide tax assessments that will increase the BID budget, which is used to provide services along Germantown Ave. and to strengthen the business corridor, from $240,000 annually to $320,000. This subsidy will be imposed on residential properties for the benefit of the businesses on Germantown Avenue.
While we applaud the job the BID has done for the businesses on Germantown Avenue, we oppose the effort to tax residential properties to support the BID.
The bill, presented by Councilwoman Bass has not been approved by proper action of the BID board and has not been approved by the affected property owners. Rental properties will bear the burden of this subsidy and landlords will have no alternative other than to pass the cost on to their tenants. We do not think the families on the unit blocks should pay a tax that benefits the commercial properties along Germantown Ave.
We are asking you to join George Woodward Co. to oppose the expansion of the BID district and to require that the BID renewal be for five years, not ten. In this way, the BID will be required to justify its existence in five years, not ten.
The next hearing before the City Council’s Committee on Rules is 10 a.m. Friday, March 28 in Room 400 of City Hall. We urge you to attend.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, please show your support in opposition to the BID by writing to City Councilwoman, Cindy Bass, Room 594, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA, 19107.
The following is a sample letter you can use:
“I (We) oppose Bill #130955, which reauthorizes the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District with expanded boundaries and a 10-year term.
This bill has been presented without the knowledge and consensus of the property owners in the expanded district. This bill calls for a tax assessment on these properties, which if passed, will be signed into law without giving the public complete information and the opportunity to be part of the development of the plan.
I(We) oppose Bill # 130955 and urge you to withdraw your support of this bill.”
Please tell your neighbors. If you need to, we will pick up your letter for you and deliver it to Councilwoman Bass. Call the George Woodward Co. at 215-247-5700.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Barbara J. Baumbach
Vice-President of Administration
George Woodward Co.