Several hundred downtown merchants got their wish Wednesday when the City Council unanimously accepted their demands to disband the Burlingame Avenue Business Improvement District.
More than 300 businesses submitted requests to the city to disband the organization, which until now has collected approximately $137,000 annually for amenities such as parking signs, holiday decorations, the downtown trolley and other promotional activities. The protesting business owners and employees disagreed with how the money was being used, preferring to have a more unofficial structure for their promotions and improvements, business owner Quent Cordair said.
The BID administered for the past three months a pilot of the Downtown Burlingame Parking Permit Program, in which downtown employees and residents could buy parking passes for $40 a month. City officials will have to evaluate whether they will continue the program, which runs through July.
Councilman Russ Cohen recused himself from the vote.
City Clerk Doris Mortensen verified that the protests amounted to nearly 61 percent of the total BID value, well above the required 50 percent-plus-one needed to dissolve the organization.
Cordair, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, said the businesses and the Chamber of Commerce will still fund activities “without resorting to a forced tax assessment approach.”
He said he believes the assessments, which ran from $50 to $1,000 annually, were fiscal hardships for small businesses and didn’t make sense for the many corporate shops now on the main thoroughfare.
“This is an expensive place to do business,” Cordair said.