A Public Improvement District is a legal mechanism, described in Texas Local Government Code (LGC), Chapter 372, Subchapter A, for property owners in a defined geographic area to jointly plan and put in place a sustainable funding source that can pay for a set of services to improve their area.
M&O PIDs are created to provide additional services to the districts supplemental to those provided by the City. Common services overseen by PIDs include security, common-area maintenance (e.g. sidewalk cleaning), minor capital improvements, beautification efforts, promotional efforts including events and marketing. PIDs represent public/private partnerships as they are overseen and established through the local government entity but are commonly managed by an external organization.
PIDs are important economic development mechanisms that help stabilize commercial business districts and promote business growth along Austin commercial corridors and in activity centers.
PIDs are organized locally by property owners and businesses, but the legal authority to assess all property requires the formal authorization of the PID by the City Council. The City Council approves the designation, re-designation or expansion of the district, annually approves a Service and Assessment Plan and Budget, and annually adopts the special assessment roll.
Austin City Council passed Resolution No. 20200220-015 in February of 2020, revising policies governing any M&O PID formed in the future. The Resolution and Updated PID Policy can be found at https://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=336507. The following information shall be required with any new PID Petition:
1. A detailed justification for the need for the requested M&O PID, including an explanation as to why the requested or reauthorized M&0 PID is necessary for the proposed geographic area and improvements.
2. Identification of the goals in the City's Comprehensive Plan to be achieved by the M&O PID and an explanation as to how such goals will be achieved with a maintenance plan.
3. A description of the special benefits to be provided by the M&O PID by improvement within geographic area.
4. A general and legal description of the boundaries of the M&O PID and a map of the M&O PID boundaries, each suitable for publication.
5. General nature of the proposed improvements.
6. Detailed estimated cost of proposed improvements including estimated long term maintenance costs for all years, ten years minimum to justify the assessment rate requested.
7. Documentation that construction of improvements through M&O PID assessments will be maintained by the M&O PID from M&O PID revenues.
8. A management plan that describes how funds will be managed including day-today operations, and the recommendation of advisory body or a Management Entity.
9. Feasibility Report that takes into account both the current and forecasted economic market context for the proposed geographic area and the Petitioner's capacity to deliver and sustain the proposed improvements. Acceptable evidence includes at minimum a market study, and feasibility study, which shall be prepared and completed no earlier than 90 days prior to the submission of the Petition.
10. Proposed method of assessment including a comparison of the combined PID assessment and ad valorem tax burden on property owners in the M&O PID.
11. Proposed apportionment of fee costs between the M&0 PID and governmental entities.
12. Current tax roll of the landowners in the M&O PID, including a separate list of any property that is designated as a homestead.
13. Evidence of annual assessment value is equal to or greater than $500,000 annually, subject to City Council approval.
14. Recommendation of an advisory body and or M&0 PID Management Entity with the responsibility of developing and recommending an improvement plan to the governing body.
15. Any other information required by the Statute.
16. A statement that the Petitioner and all that have signed the Petition requests or concurs with the establishment and or reauthorization of the M&O PID.
17. The Petitioner shall provide any and all supplemental information requested by the City.
When creating an M&O PID, the City authorizes an expiration date of at least five years from the date of creation. The expiration date ensures current property owners endorse the M&O PID purpose and projects. For an M&O PID to continue to exist past the expiration date identified at the time of creation, the City must receive a petition ("Petition") requesting the reauthorization of the M&O PID. This Petition must meet the same requirements for a petition to establish an M&O PID in this Policy and Section 372.005 of the Texas Local Government Code (LGC). It is the sole responsibility of the M&O PID management entity or advisory body to meet these requirements for PID reauthorization within the timeframes identified in this Policy.
Current M&O PIDs
The City of Austin has three established M&O PIDs. The three PIDs — Austin Downtown, East Sixth Street (downtown) and South Congress — were all established within the last twenty-five years with the most recent PID being South Congress.