The (Undemocratic and Ineffective) Difference is Downtown! [Update to Part 1]

First, I’d like to thank you all, Geneva Believer readers, for your attention, your kind words, and your criticisms. After posting the first Geneva Believer article “The (Undemocratic and Ineffective) Difference Is Downtown!,” I received a handful of messages and comments that have prompted me to pen [Part 2],” which will be published soon.


To me, the most interesting (but unsurprising) feedback that I’ve received has been from readers who feel that the BID article was negatively biased and unnecessarily provocative. Yet those same readers have offered no actual defense of the BID. I would have been pleased if someone had provided information to help change my mind…perhaps an example or two of the things that the BID has accomplished that have gone unnoticed. Instead, every single critical comment simply questioned my motives and the tone of the article. I can only surmise that there is little any BID supporters can offer to contradict my statements about the organization. If any readers would like to send along a response to any pieces that are presented on ‘Geneva Believer,’ I would be glad to post them here, if you’d like, either credited or anonymously.

Most rewarding for me was hearing from people who had never taken a close look at the workings of the BID and had no idea this type of arrangement existed in the City.

However, I believe that I failed to communicate an important aspect of the article, so I’d like to offer some clarification.

The previous article’s suggestion that the City cut ties with the BID does not mean that the funding collected from the BID tax and additional City monies given to the BID each year would simply disappear.

Rather, the City of Geneva could continue collecting the BID tax from downtown property owners (totaling $109,000 in 2014) and earmark it for use specifically in downtown for beautification, upkeep, business recruitment and retainment, and other supposed responsibilities of the BID. In addition, the taxpayer money that is given to the BID each year from the City’s budget coffers ($70,000 in 2014) would also be placed in the same downtown fund.

This way, the dollars that are currently given to the BID and spent with little oversight or accountability would be utilized in a transparent and more responsible manner. These funds would be distributed into areas that need the most attention, rather than being used primarily to benefit only the property owners who have the most influence on the BID Board of Directors.

Thanks again for reading, and please keep an eye on this space for Part 2, in which take a closer look at the BID and its relationship with the City.


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