MID Renewal FAQ

What is the Metropolitan Improvement District?

The Metropolitan Improvement District is a business-improvement association (BIA) in downtown Seattle, managed by the Downtown Seattle Association through a Seattle city ordinance. It includes six downtown neighborhoods across 285 square blocks.

Property owners within the MID boundaries have agreed to pay an annual assessment for supplemental municipal services, including additional cleaning, safety, hospitality and parks and public space management. The MID was created in 1999 and renewed in 2013 with the support of a majority of MID ratepayers. The ordinance must be approved again in 2023.

 

What is a BIA?

More than 1,200 business-improvement areas/districts similar to the MID have been established in the US since the 1970s. This privately controlled management approach has become important to ensuring that downtowns and business districts thrive and grow.

 

What is the Downtown Seattle Association?

The DSA is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1958, whose mission is to create a healthy, vibrant downtown for all. DSA focuses on:

  • The urban experience, including public safety and chronic homelessness
  • Economic development, including affordable housing and a strong business environment
  • Transportation and access to and through downtown

DSA is the program manager of the Metropolitan Improvement District.

 

What is the MID budget and how is the money spent?

The MID collects approximately $15.5 million a year in assessments, which fund:

  • Daily cleaning of downtown streets and sidewalks, including trash and biohazard removal, illegal dumping, alley flushing and graffiti removal
  • Daily private security patrols within the MID boundaries
  • Hospitality and concierge services
  • Interactions with downtown’s unsheltered and vulnerable populations on how to access services and notification of encampments to the city
  • Programming in parks and public spaces
  • Downtown marketing, economic development and research
  • Events and activations

 

Aren’t these services provided by the city of Seattle?

The city of Seattle does provide municipal services, including garbage pickup, policing and economic development. However, the level of services provided by the city has not kept pace with the needs of a growing downtown or the additional challenges brought on by the pandemic. Similar to the MID, there are business-improvement districts in other areas of Seattle.

What is the process for renewing the MID?

To renew the voluntary MID ordinance, property owners representing 60% of the total assessment are required to prove their support by signing petitions, which are then presented to the City Council for approval and the ordinance is ultimately enacted into law by the mayor.

 

What is the timeline for renewal?

  • Now–September: outreach and listening; forming a business plan
  • September–November: petitions out
  • Early 2023: submit to Seattle City Council for review
  • May 2023: in front of Council
  • June 2023: signed by Mayor Harrell
  • July 1, 2023: new MID starts

 

What happens if the MID is not renewed?

If the MID is not renewed, all MID-funded programs would cease.

 

How much will I have to pay?

The amount ratepayers are assessed depends on the property type. A group of ratepayers carefully evaluates the assessment formula during each renewal process to ensure equity across all ratepayers.

 

What parts of downtown are included?

The MID serves Belltown, the Denny Regrade, Retail Core, Pioneer Square, Waterfront and West Edge neighborhoods of downtown.

 

Who are the ratepayers?

Ratepayers are commercial and residential property owners inside the MID boundaries. These include property management organizations, nonprofits, hotels, condominiums and apartments. Government-owned properties do not currently pay into the MID.

 

How is the MID governed?

The MID is governed by an advisory board made up of ratepayers, including commercial property owners, leaders of nonprofit organizations and downtown residents. View the full list of board members. The chair of the MID Advisory Board is also a member of the Downtown Seattle Association Board of Directors.

 

Why should we renew the MID?

MID investments help ensure a cleaner, healthier and more welcoming downtown Seattle for all who live, work and play here. If MID funding was not in place, thousands of gallons of trash each year would accumulate on streets and sidewalks, including biohazard and human waste. Graffiti would remain on the sides of buildings, and there would be a reduced focus on helping move downtown’s unsheltered and vulnerable populations into housing and services. Without private security, public events, art installations, beautification efforts and urban park programming, downtown would feel far less safe and welcoming.

How can I get more information?

More information is available on the Downtown Seattle Association website downtownseattle.org/mid or Know Your BIA site knowyourbia.com.