The people of Rochester don’t need a B.I.D.

We can make our community stronger, together.

(for now)

Friends and Neighbors,

The decision to suspend the BID formation process is the result of sustained community pushback. A coalition of ordinary residents, small businesses, community organizations, and artists came together to oppose RDDC’s push to turn Downtown Rochester into a Business Improvement District that would benefit the largest developers and property owners. 

Over the last two years an increasing number of people recognized that RDDC’s BID is anti-democratic, unjust, and would further increase inequality in our community. We are proud of the work done by dozens of unpaid organizers and hundreds of volunteers over the last two years to educate and engage our neighbors. We thank our coalition for their steadfast and expanding support for a more just and more equitable future for our city. We are stronger for this struggle.

BIDs are a mechanism for further empowering the powerful.  While the BID proposal may be going away (for now), political and economic power remains concentrated in the hands of a few. The future of Rochester is everyone’s business.

Our elected representatives have an opportunity to invest in people-centered, democratically-accountable initiatives that prioritize equity and the needs of the many, instead of the desires of the few. 

Democracy thrives when the community is at the heart of planning and decision-making, not as an afterthought, but as the foundation. It is time to come together and stand up for the future our community deserves, where equity isn’t a missed goal in another report a decade from now, but the north star that guides our decision making. 

  • Stop the BID
  • Pass the Memorializing Ceasefire Resolution Update! SIGNED 3/22!
  • Support the Vacancy Study
  • Pause Unfair Reassessments

In Solidarity,

The BID Education Committee

The people of Rochester don’t need a B.I.D.

We can make our community stronger, together.

The Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) is trying to turn Downtown Rochester into a “Business Improvement District” they would control. A BID would give even more power to some of Rochester’s wealthiest property owners and businesses.

What is a B.I.D.?

A BID is an area of a community where a private company collects a mandatory tax from properties every year, and they get to spend it in the interest of the biggest property owners, not residents! We must keep our downtown under community control and stop this unjust power grab.


join our coalition

Stand with us against the BID, and stand up for community.


The RDDC and their aligned interests tried and failed to create a BID in 2014. They’ve spent the last several years influencing programs, policies and politicians to get their way. They’ve taken advantage of trusted community members and their efforts, borrowing their good will. And that’s just wrong.

  • BIDs favor big corporations, burdening small businesses with additional taxes and fees.
  • BIDs try to make areas look a certain way to attract richer customers, pushing out small, unique businesses.
  • BIDs drive gentrification and higher rents, pushing out unique local businesses that create diversity and vitality.
  • Property owners pass BID taxes and fees on to renters who are forced to pay them.
  • BIDs drive gentrification that displaces renters, pushing them out of their homes and neighborhoods.
  • BIDs lobby for policies that favor property owner interests over renters.
  • BIDs prioritize commercial interests making neighborhoods less inclusive and less affordable for their original residents.
  • BIDs erase the unique character and identity of neighborhoods
  • BIDs hire private security to push out vulnerable and marginalized community members.
  • BIDs lobby for laws that criminalize routine activities like sitting and hire private security to push out vulnerable community members.
  • BIDs engage in data collection practices that track the movement and behavior of individuals in public spaces.
  • Pervasive surveillance deters public gatherings and protests, impacting free expression in public space.
  • In a BID voting and voice is based on property ownership and property value. Owners with more property have more say.
  • BIDs favor the interests and give more power to wealthy property owners over the broader community.
  • BIDs impose taxes and policies without sufficient community input or representation.
  • BIDs privatize local government services and are not transparent or accountable to community.
  • BIDs view art as a tool for economic development rather than essential cultural expression.
  • BIDs use their financial clout to shape public opinion in favor of their interests, compromising the artistic community’s independence and integrity.
  • BIDs centralize funding control, stifling critical voices and success of local grassroots initiatives.

“A BID is a concerted effort to further empower the powerful”

Max Rivlin-Nadler “Business Improvement Districts Ruin Neighborhoods” 
The New Republic

Lets create a future that benefits everyone in Rochester, including those who already call it home. Most of the 10,000 people who live downtown don’t own property. Most downtown properties are owned by large developers and big corporations like RG&E. A BID is not for our shared benefit. It will not create prosperity for existing residents and small business owners, it will replace them because BIDs do what’s in the best interest of big business — not community.

The BID policy model is fundamentally flawed because it deliberately ties local control and political voice to property ownership, and not to who lives here.

This structural flaw cannot be changed by City Council, so the BID must be stopped by City Council.


there is strength in numbers