Central Avenue District Management Corp.
The mission of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District Management Corporation (CASID) is to guide and promote the positive social growth and economic revitalization occurring in the City of Jersey City by providing supplemental management, maintenance, and improvements to the Central Avenue business district also known as the “Central Avenue Special Improvement District” (Central Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and North Street).
Formed in 1992 by municipal ordinance, the CASID was one of the first Special Improvement Districts in the State and the first of six in Jersey City. Initiated by the efforts of involved business leaders and commercial property owners within the district, the CASID functions as a public/ private partnership between the City of Jersey City and private stakeholders to supplement, not substitute, government services. Such services include (but not limited to) administration, marketing, maintenance, capital improvements, and other operations. An elected board of seven (7) trustees from within the district volunteers their valued time to govern the CASID.
In a traditional neighborhood setting, there is a sensitive relationship between local commerce and the surrounding population. One can not thrive without the other. For this reason, it is imperative to be a key player in the community and take a general interest in local matters to better advocate on behalf of our main street community. With over 450 united members (defined as commercial property owners and/ or commercial tenants of assessed properties within the district), the CASID is one of the strongest business organizations in the City. The CASID works alongside community leaders, civic organizations, and elected officials to guide the growth of Jersey City and its’ highly valued traditional neighborhood quality in the Heights, hence the phrase “A Tradition Reborn”.
Organziation and Funding
The CASID is a private not-for-profit 501(c)4 corporation representing business and commercial property owners within the District servicing the greater Hudson County area. Having established an ongoing public-private partnership with local government, CASID members levy an annual self-imposed (tax) assessment on the nearly 200 commercial properties within the district to finance the organization (residential properties are exempt). Each individual SID Assessment is determined using the following formula: the property's front footage on Central Avenue multiplied by the current rate ($15 in 2016). The average Central Avenue commercial property frontage is 25 linear feet making the average SID Assessment equal to $375 a year. Additionally, the CASID continues to pursue grants and fundraising initiatives thereby adding value to each SID Assessment. The entire operating budget for CASID consists of the SID Assessment, grants, and other private funding. Each year, the Board of Trustees presents a budget to its general membership and the City Council of Jersey City for approval.
Measuring success of any Special Improvement District program is subject to debate. No two business districts (or surrounding community for that matter) are exactly alike therefore expectations, needs, and the solutions SIDs provide will always vary. Additionally, program expectations among stakeholders range widely from fairly reasonable (i.e. if the SID helps maintain holiday lights in the district, it is a successful program) to unreasonable (i.e. if a Macy’s does not open in the district by year’s end, the program is a failure). As there is no universally excepted measurement of success, the stakeholders on Central Avenue resolved to address this issue by including a sunset clause when creating the CASID. At least once every five (5) years, CASID members take a vote to extend or dissolve the existance of the SID program. Having the general membership vote on this referendum is the simplest method of measuring the success of the SID program and the services provided while ensuring it will always be held accountable to its main stakeholders. The CASID was established in 1992 and the majority vote of its members have continued the SID program through today.