Allerton business owners turn down Business Improvement District

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Allerton is in the very early stages of looking at whether it wants a Business Improvement District, and its merchants association has mixed feelings about that.

Roughly 70 businesses are part of the Allerton Merchants Association, which started seven years ago.

The New York City Small Business Services is in the beginning stages of surveying residents, merchants and property owners about whether they would want a BID -- which helps with branding, marketing, street cleaning, development and more. It is funded by a special assessment billed to property owners.

The merchants association is run on a "pay what you can" basis for street cleaning and events, like the Allerton International Food Festival, and holiday lights.

The president of the merchants association, Gene DeFrancis, is not welcoming a BID and says it would be a financial burden for mom-and-pop business owners.

Whether the BID is created is entirely up to residents, merchants and property owners. Elected officials don't have a say. Councilman Mark Gjonaj says he'll throw his support behind whatever the majority votes for, but that he has seen how bids can actually help.

Gjonaj added that after the survey and two town halls, voting should wrap up next spring.

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