What is a BID?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district.

While Madison's Central BID is the only BID in Madison, there are many BIDs in cities throughout Wisconsin and in other cities across the country.

Why Form a BID?
The purpose of a BID is to improve conditions for business in a specific area, attract and retain businesses, generate jobs and improve the quality of life for those who use the district. A BID enables stakeholders to decide which services to provide to meet the district's unique needs. These services could include the following:

  • Marketing programs
  • Flower and tree planting
  • Holiday decorations
  • Business development, resources and retention programs
  • Commercial vacancy reduction
  • Special events
  • District public relations and advocacy
  • Visitor assistance
  • Street ambassadors

Madison Central BID's services are designed to supplement the services already provided by the City of Madison.

BIDs represent a concerted effort by business leaders to establish well-funded, professional organizations that can work to change perceptions of their district, to surmount the limits of public resources, and to respond to challenges that exist in a competitive environment.

When business leaders decide to reach into their pockets to fund a BID, they are departing from business as usual. This decision can be motivated by a variety of events, but essentially what primes an area for starting a BID is an opportunity to bring increased improvements to a particular district.

How is a BID Funded?
BID programs and services are underwritten by a special assessment collected from property owners in the defined boundaries of the district. The assessment is levied on the property-owners, who may pass it on to their tenants, if their lease contains such a provision.
In downtown Madison the assessment is billed and collected by the City of Madison, and then disbursed to the Downtown Madison BID who in turn delivers the district's services. The BID supplements the assessment revenues with advertising and sponsorship revenues, to increase the services delivered without additional tax impact for property owners.

How does the Madison BID work with other organizations?
There are several downtown business organizations and City committees, each with their own board, staff, members, goals and interests. The BID works with each organization to foster good communication and partnerships to help ensure our efforts are complementary. Each of the following organizations has a representative on the BID Board of Directors, and BID staff and Board members likewise participate in meetings of these organizations.

Greater State Street Business Association
A membership-based organization for businesses in the greater State Street area.

Downtown Madison, Inc. (DMI)
A member-based organization encompassing the greater downtown from Camp Randall stadium to the Yahara River.

Downtown Coordinating Committee
A City of Madison Standing Committee that considers and makes recommendations on ongoing issues for the downtown area.