By Brooklyn Reader

March 27, 2015, 5:56 pm

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Carlo Scissura (second from left), president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, received a civic award for his work on behalf of the community. He is pictured with chamber executives Joseph Shaia, Rick Russo, and Andrew Steininger (left to right) Brooklyn Eagle Photos by Paula Katinas
Carlo Scissura (second from left), president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, is surrounded by Chamber Executives (L-R) Joseph Shaia, Rick Russo, and Andrew Steininger. Photo Courtesy of Paula Katinas

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, which recently took over operations for the North Flatbush Business Improvement District (BID), have their sights on three other possible BIDs they are helping to get off the ground.

BIDs are public/private partnership in which merchants in the designated area pay extra fees to the city and get extra services of their choosing. For example, a BID might put some of this extra collected money to more sanitation, security or holiday lights.

“We are in the process of helping form three BIDS – on 13th Avenue in Dyker Heights, Seventh Avenue in Park Slope and the Court/Smith Street corridor between Atlantic Avenue and the Gowanus Expressway,” said Chamber Senior Vice President Andrew Steininger, adding the goal was to get them up and running not whether they will run their administration for a fee.

While taking over the running of some of the borough’s current 23 BIDS would save each BID some money on economic efficiencies, it could also pose possible conflict of interest issues between the chamber and the independent BIDS. This includes agreeing with some of the political views in which the chamber advocates  and possible coercion to get BID members to join the paid Chamber membership.

But Steininger says there is no conflict of interest.

“We don’t push membership. If they (BID merchants) want to join they can, but we don’t in any way shape or form apply pressure,” said Steininger, adding each BID has its own Board of Directors. “If they have different stances on congestion pricing they are fully independent to express them. Our role is purely to do operations.”

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One Response

  1. Schellie Hagan

    The conflict of interest in the Fulton Street BID — FAB — is between the BID and the stores held hostage in it.

    The stores are forced to pay the BID for services they already perform for themselves, such as sweeping, and nonsense they don’t want, like a bus/trolley that shows up at Christmas and has “free” rides with a guitar-playing singing Santa Claus.

    FAB has presided over the disappearance of more than 65 mom n pops in its six years of “business improvement” on Fulton. (Quick math: about 10 stores a year.)

    FAB is viewed as legal extortion, BIDs being creatures of the City Council. More than 20 stores signed a letter saying they want out of FAB. The letter went to Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer, Borough President Adams and City Councilmember Cumbo who sit on FAB’s board. Not one bothered to acknowledge the merchants. Not even a boilerplate response. Nothing

    If the stores refuse to pay the FAB fee, the City shuts them down. Extortion? What do you think?


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