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Downtown W-B Business Improvement District

Creating a Better Downtown Together

On August 1, 2007, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District (DWBBID) began providing supplementary place management, marketing, and economic development services to the properties and businesses of Downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Following a year of discussion and planning, the DWBBID was originally created by City Council ordinance following the requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Neighborhood Improvement District Act. The DWBBID was renewed by ratepayers in 2012, and again in 2018. The DWBBID’s current authorization extends until December 31, 2028.

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a legal mechanism that allows property owners and businesses to pool resources to effectively address common concerns within a specific service area. Because a BID is based upon a multi-year commitment, it provides sustainable funding so development plans, budgets, and business strategies can be made on a multi-year basis. The cost per business is low because all benefiting properties pay their fair share.

The Diamond City Partnership manages the DWBBID, which serves an area extending from Academy Street in the south to North Street in the north. Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s property and business owners are all partners in the DWBBID: their collective investment permits DCP to provide the shared services that have made Downtown Wilkes-Barre cleaner, safer, more attractive, and more economically vibrant.

The 2019-2028 Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District Plan may be downloaded here, and a map showing DWBBID boundaries may be downloaded here.

DWBBID Assessment Calculations

 The annual DWBBID charge is based on Pennsylvania law and calculated by a formula that applies to all ratepaying properties, without regard to abatements or other tax incentives provided by the City of Wilkes-Barre or other bodies. The following explains the method used to calculate the assessed charges for ratepaying properties:

  • DWBBID relies upon certified current market assessed values from the Luzerne County Assessor’s Office to calculate its charges.
  • DWBBID annually calculates the total assessed value of all ratepaying properties within the district: in 2023, that value is $128,051,100.
  • The current market assessed value of each ratepaying property (the “basis”) is divided by the total assessed value of all ratepaying properties within the DWBBID to generate a percentage that is then multiplied by the DWBBID’s total annual billing amount (which is voted on and approved each year by the DWBBID/DCP Board of Directors). The result is the annual charge for each ratepaying property.

Here’s an example, based on a property with an assessed value of $200,000 and the 2023 total DWBBID billing amount of $227,522:

($200,000/$128,051,100) x $227,522 = $355.36

To generate a bill rate for invoicing purposes, the total annual billing amount is divided by the total assessed value of all ratepaying properties, as follows:

$227,522/$128,051,100 = 0.17772%

Making Online DWBBID Payments

DWBBID ratepayers may pay their assessments online using the link below:

Make DWBBID payments here 

DWBBID Balance Lookup Tool

DWBBID ratepayers may look up current balances online using the link below:

LOOK UP DWBBID BALANCES HERE

Voluntary Payments from Tax-Exempt Property Owners

While Pennsylvania’s BID law does not require the owners of tax-exempt properties to pay mandatory assessments to a business improvement district, it does make provisions for voluntary “fair-share” Payments in Lieu of Assessment (PILOA). In 2023, the DWBBID has commitments for $94,300 in PILOA payments from tax-exempt property owners within the district.

Questions?

If you have any questions about the assessment methodology or any other aspect of the DWBBID or its operations, please contact DCP.