Campaign to Dissolve KK Avenue BID Update

March 1, 2018

By Katherine Keller

As the Compass reported last month, Bay View property owners Ada Duffey and David Brazeau are leading an effort to dissolve the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District #44.

To dissolve the BID, Duffey and Brazeau must collect the signatures of owners in the BID whose property values equal more than 50 percent of the total value of the properties in the KK Avenue BID. The current total assessment for the 194 properties equals $73,210,000. Duffey needs signatures by owners whose building assessments equal $37,337,100. By the end of January, she said she had collected “$9,049,600 worth of signatures and (had) verbal/written commitments for an additional $7,630,900,” a total of $16,680,500.”

In the four weeks since, Brazeau and Duffey have continued to gather petition signatures. “We’re right around 32% of the total bid assessment, so 64% of what we need,” Duffey said, “We’re getting one to two signatures every day. Many people are very supportive of signing the petition. I do think we will get sufficient signatures. It is just a matter of contacting people, informing them, and getting their signatures.”

“Yes, we will get enough signatures. We are getting signed petition forms back almost every day,” David Brazeau said. “Once they hear about the BID’s proposal of raising the assessment rate by 500 percent, it is a no brainer. Everyone that I have met is thanking us for doing this, as they see absolutely no value in the BID. As of today, we have 70 commercial property owners that have signed the petition to eliminate the BID, with a total value of $25.6 million.”

A Business Improvement District (BID) is an economic development tool used to help maximize business growth along a major business strip. BIDs are areas where property owners in designated geographic areas agree to percentage-based additional annual property assessment. Those assessments form a BID’s annual budget and funds are spent on projects that enhance the local business environment. Those may include improvements to the streetscape, marketing efforts, business recruitment activity, and security programs.

A change in the assessment scheme for Milwaukee-based BIDs reduces the amount of taxes that BIDs can collect. As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the new Wisconsin budget stipulates that only the commercial, not residential portions of mixed-use buildings can be taxed.

KK BID president Lee Barczak said that KK BID’s budget is already one of the smallest in Milwaukee and is one of the reasons he wants to consider raising the assessment in Bay View. He said the BID’s annual budget would be reduced by 20 percent as a result of the reduced assessments, and noted that there has never been a cost-of-living increase in the assessments since the BID started in 2009.

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