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Tenafly merchants ask to dissolve business improvement district, echoing other downtowns


file photo CBD  Ridgewood

APRIL 6, 2015    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015, 1:20 AM

Tenafly’s attempts to organize local business owners into a cohesive group that will help improve their section of the borough and generate new business has run into challenges that threaten to destroy the effort.

It is a familiar scenario that has played out on main streets across the state amid conflicting priorities and unfulfilled expectations. A business improvement district, commonly referred to as a BID, collects funds from businesses within a designated area to improve and promote the district. But business owners say BIDs do not always accomplish what they promise, and several municipalities have disbanded them.

Rutherford property owners signed a petition last year asking the borough to dissolve its BID; the council has not yet done so. The improvement districts in Palmyra, Atlantic City, Highlands and Roselle Park have been dissolved in the past few years.

“We did away with it last year because the merchants said they weren’t getting the bang for the buck,” Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson said of his borough’s 8-year-old BID. “We’re happy it’s gone.”