The BKBIA is here to stay despite sunsetting funds in 2021

The reduction in funding may impact community events and outreach

The BKBIA is here to stay despite sunsetting funds in 2021

Image courtesy the BKBIA website

No, the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA) is not going to disappear, BKBIA Executive Director Blair Cohn told the Signal Tribune Monday, Jan. 6, but it may look a bit different come 2021.

As previously reported in the Signal Tribune, the Long Beach City Council renewed the contract it had with the association for one year and continued a tax assessment on Bixby Knolls businesses to help fund the organization in November.

Cohn said that the news about the fleeting funds is nothing new, but that didn’t stop people from asking him on social media if this meant the end for the BKBIA.

“So, let’s clarify, there will be a BKBIA because the businesses pay their assessment and that creates a budget–– that’s what we call the operating budget,” Cohn said. “But it would cut funding in half–– if not a little more than half.”

The BKBIA was created via Ordinance C-6646 on Sept. 21, 1989 by the Long Beach City Council at the request of local business owners, according to the association’s website. In 1993, the BKBIA became incorporated and received its nonprofit status, 501(c)6. The City of Long Beach assesses the businesses and nonprofits housed in the district every year and funds are then returned to the BKBIA for activities focused on revitalization, promotion, street aesthetics and security.

Today, residents can participate in the Beer Trolley, First Fridays, community bike rides, music and art festivals and other local events.

Cohn added that the BKBIA greatly benefited from the support of the Redevelopment Agency in 2011. It allowed for blight and graffiti clean-ups, the hiring of security to patrol during public events and it allowed for more staff to come onboard and expand the association’s services.

The boost in support paved the way for more events to take place. However, it is through those community events where folks may see a change in the way the BKBIA will operate come 2021.

If revenue is not collected to maintain the latest community outreach initiatives and events the BKBIA has implemented in the last decade, then a lot of that would have to be “scaled back.”

“So, all of that would be paired way down,” Cohn said. “There’d still be a BKBIA, but it would be a shadow of its former self from the last decade.”

Currently, the BKBIA is trying to find different ways to fund the high-energy improvements its been able to implement. One solution is to apply for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called the Bixby Knolls Community Foundation. Through this nonprofit, the BKBIA would be able to requests grants and funds to support itself.

Another method is to increase the tax assessment for Bixby Knolls businesses, but as previously reported, Cohn said he wouldn’t want to aggressively increase taxes on the businesses in the area.

“Everyone is taxed up the wazoo,” he said. “They do this in downtown–– to those that own property within the Downtown Alliance–– Here, it’s different because this is mostly single-family homes.”

The association has been communicating with the public about the sunset funding through social media and its newsletter, which folks can sign-up for by clicking here.

During next month’s annual meeting, Cohn said that the BKBIA will be doubling down on the issue and raising awareness to the local community and businesses.

“We’re going to talk about it,” he said. “We’re going to throw it out there and say, ‘look, businesses pay, and they benefit from the work, we’ve engaged the community, the neighborhoods have benefitted by the work that’s been done–– is it time for you all to have a stake in this?’”