The Downtown Spokane BID is a self-taxing financing mechanism providing services and improvements that enhance existing municipal services to more than 850 business owners and 350 property parcels inside the 80-block BID area. Created by the City Council in 1995 and reauthorized in 2016 at the request of the area’s business and property owners, the BID is authorized by Washington State law to aid general economic development and neighborhood revitalization. The BID focuses on key services identified by Ratepayers: cleanliness, safety, promotion, economic development and parking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact us.
About the Business Improvement District
What is the BID?
Why does Downtown need a BID?
The current BID enjoys broad-based support for its effectiveness. Downtown businesses and property owners felt the downtown core needed enhanced municipal services to improve the central business district and make it a clean, safe, and fun destination for workers, shoppers, and visitors. 72% of business and property owners signed a petition to create the BID in 1995. The BID provides a resource for downtown business owners to pool financial resources to more effectively buy services that they need.
How is the BID managed?
The Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) is a private, non-profit membership organization hired by the City of Spokane to administer the BID. DSP also conducts planning and advocacy functions. The elected Ratepayer Advisory Board (RAB) represents Ratepayers’ interests by establishing operating procedures, developing budgets, advising the City regarding assessments, monitoring service delivery, and planning for the future of the BID in an advisory capacity. Any Ratepayer in good standing can seek nomination to the board.
How is the BID funded?
The BID is funded by $100,000/year from the City of Spokane and approximately $1.4 million in private investment, including Ratepayer assessments, business contributions to parking validation, event sponsorships, and other private contributions. The funds from the city exclusively support a portion of the Clean Team and the Security Ambassador programs. BID Ratepayer billing is administered annually by the City of Spokane.
How are BID assessments spent?
BID programs focus on key areas making downtown a more desirable place for businesses, shoppers, and visitors. The Ratepayer Advisory Board (RAB) decides how the money is spent and these allocations are reviewed annually. Similar to other BIDs across the country, programs focus on clean, safe, marketing, economic development and transportation.
Ratepayer related questions
What is a Ratepayer?
A Ratepayer is a property or business owner located in the designated boundaries of the Downtown Spokane Business Improvement District.
How are assessments calculated?
Assessments are based upon gross leasable space (including storage) except where noted. Assessments are based upon four“benefit zones,” 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 one hundred and ten dollars ($110.00) will be applied to every business or property parcel within the boundaries.
How are assessments billed?
Assessments are billed annually 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.
Are there any exemptions?
The following are considered exempt from annual assessments:
Property owners and businesses recognized by the State of Washington as 501c3 non-profit organizations.
Governmental agencies exempt from taxation pursuant to State and Federal law;
Businesses conducting business in the district less than 30 days per year.
Whose job is it?
Broken or inoperable traffic light, street light or pole
The Signals and Lighting Section of the Street Department performs all preventive and corrective maintenance functions for every traffic control device within the City of Spokane. Crews normally work split shifts between the hours of 5 AM to 4 PM weekdays, but also respond when needed for emergency repairs on a 24/7 basis. Call 509.625.7733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Damaged or missing street sign
The Signs and Markers Division installs and maintains traffic signs and pavement markings within the City of Spokane. If you know of missing or damaged traffic signs contact one of the following numbers: City: Street Department, 509.232.8803 or 509.625.7733.
City of Spokane Code Enforcement is the primary contact for land use complaints, enforcing City health, safety codes and ordinances. Code Enforcement helps the public understand their rights and obligations and work closely with other government agencies to promote community goals; and acts as a liaison with community members on programs and policies to ensure stable improvement to quality of life and neighborhoods. Contact the Code Enforcement Office at 509.625.6083 or email@example.com.
Damaged pole banner
Under the banner program, the BID is responsible for reviewing banner designs, installing and removing banners, coordinating rotations of banners and ensuring quality control standards throughout downtown. The BID is not responsible for any theft, vandalism or weather damage that occurs on downtown street banners but will arrange removal and replacement of banners in the downtown space. Report a damaged banner or bracket at 509.456.0580 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Broken parking meter
On-street parking devices are monitored and maintained by the City of Spokane, Parking Services. If an on-street device is broken or malfunctioning, please do one of the following to report the issue:
• Call My Spokane at 311 or 509.755.2489 (CITY)
• Submit a complaint through MySpokane311.org or the My Spokane App.
• Make a complaint in-person at City Hall at the My Spokane counter on the 1st floor.
Overflowing garbage can or litter on sidewalk
The downtown Clean Team monitors and maintains sidewalk garbage cans inside the BID. Call 509.624.9111 to report an overflowing can. For litter in doorways contact the property owner.
Overflowing dumpster or garbage in the street
The City of Spokane Solid Waste department will furnish commercial businesses with collection carts, commercial dumpsters, or roll-off carts to collect materials. Businesses are charged for the collection service, not the containers. Customers must have their container location approved by the Solid Waste Collection to ensure that it can be emptied. Commercial containers can be emptied once a week or more frequently depending on a customer's needs. Call the Commercial Division at 509.625.7955 to find the right fit for your business. For street litter contact City Code Enforcement at 509.625.6083 to have your street put on the list for cleanup.
Graffiti on buildings
The downtown Clean Team will attempt to remove graffiti from buildings inside the BID with permission from the property owner by power washing, chemically washing or painting over the tag. The effectiveness of the removal method depends on the weather, the surface of the location and the type of paint used. Contact the Clean Team at 509.624.9111 for assistance removing the tag.
In addition the Spokane Police Department works with the City of Spokane's Neighborhood Services Department to prevent and remove graffiti. If you are witnessing a crime in progress, call 911. If you need to report a location that has graffiti, report online using your My Spokane account or call 311, If you have a digital photograph of the graffiti, this can be submitted electronically via the reporting tool.
Weeds on sidewalk
The downtown Clean Team sprays for weed abatement each spring on public sidewalks and tree wells inside the BID and monitors weeds throughout the summer and fall. Report a weed outbreak at 509.624.9111.
Street tree maintenance
Large canopy street trees help reduce building cooling costs, cool and shade Downtown's sidewalks, extend the life of asphalt and encourage visitors to stay longer. Street trees positively influence the distance people are willing to travel to spend time in downtown.
Street trees are required along all city streets in downtown and should be planted between the curb and the walking path of the sidewalk. Street trees and other landscaping shall be maintained and irrigated by the adjacent property owner. If a street has a uniform planting of street trees or a distinctive species within the right-of-way, then new street trees should be of a similar form, character and planting pattern.
For guidance about maintaining your street trees contact City of Spokane Urban Forestry at 509.363.5495.
Sidewalk planter maintenance
The downtown Clean Team and staff maintain over 70 planters throughout the BID. Planting happens each may the weekend after Mother's Day. To request a planter at your place of business call the downtown office at 509.456.0580. To report missing or damaged plants call the Clean Team at 509.624.9111.
In addition, the City of Spokane purchases and maintains over 90 hanging baskets in the downtown area.
Blue collection boxes are the property of the United States Postal Service. Report damaged or inoperable boxes to the USPS at 1.800.275.8777.
Leaking fire hydrant
fire hydrants located within the public right-of-way are publicly owned and maintained by the City of Spokane Water Department. Fire hydrants not located within the public right-of-way are considered private, with maintenance requirements a responsibility of the property owner. For 24-hour water information call 509.625.7800, for repairs call 509.625.7825.