City Ordinance C-34748 passed July 18, 2011 amending SMC 4.31.140 effective August 25, 2011 and Ordinance C-33995 passed March 26, 2007 amending SMC 4.31.010 effective May 6, 2007 provides for the levy of special assessments upon businesses and properties within the area designated as the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). The BID Ratepayer Advisory Board of Directors submits to City Council an annual BID Management Plan including a proposed budget and special assessment matrix. In early December, City Council holds a public hearing to hear all protests and receives evidence for or against the proposed action.
- Assessments are based upon gross leasable space (including storage) except where noted.
- Assessments are based upon six “benefit zones,” (see map) each of which pays a different level of assessment based upon the services it receives.
- Hotels and motels will be assessed for both property and tenancy at one rate per number of rooms.
- Public parks will be assessed for both property and tenancy at one rate per number of acres.
- Square footage will be combined for office or retail tenants occupying multiple spaces in one building.
- No historic tax credit or other exemptions that would decrease the assessed value of land or improvements will be used to calculate the annual property assessment.
- If multiple activities or uses are undertaken in a single business space, the predominant activity or usage shall determine the business classification. The predominant usage is that use which has the greatest proportional square footage of a building compared to other uses.
- A minimum assessment of ninety dollars ($90.00) will be applied to every business or property parcel within the boundaries.
- Assessments are annually billed in December for the following year, with a January due date. If a Ratepayer elects to pay the assessment in two installments there will be a $10.00 re-bill fee.
- A pro-rated assessment is available to tenant Ratepayers upon request.
- The pro-rated assessment shall be based on a full month, i.e. if a Ratepayer leaves the BID March 15 they will be invoiced for three full months.
- A pro-rated assessment shall be available only to tenant Ratepayers who move out of the BID.
- When a tenant moves within the BID, that tenant will be responsible for the assessment based on their previous location until the change is made for the next year’s assessment roll.
- Property owners recognized by the State of Washington as Religious, charitable, or social welfare non-profit organizations.
- Businesses recognized by the State of Washington as non-profit organizations.
- Governmental agencies exempt from taxation pursuant to State and Federal law;
- Concessionaires at public events.
- Vendors or entertainers in the district streets and parks.
- Theaters which principally present live performances and not video or film shows.
- Businesses conducting business in the district less than 30 days per year.
- Emergency City services such as fire, police, and medical care.
The majority of assessment questions are quickly resolved by the Downtown Spokane Partnership office. If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached, a Ratepayer aggrieved by the amount of an assessment or delinquency charge shall request, within sixty (60) days of the assessment or charge, a hearing before the Ratepayer Advisory Board. An Assessment Resolution Policy, which fully outlines the appeal process, is available from the Downtown Spokane Partnership office.
Assessment Rate Increases
Proposals with regards to assessment rate changes (including minimums, maximums, exemptions, and increases) are subject to approval by City Council per RCW 35.87A.
It is anticipated that subsequent increases of the assessments will be based on the increase, if any, of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of the U.S.
The Downtown Spokane Partnership office should be contacted immediately to discuss any situations not covered in the above guidelines.