Santa Ana businesses will consider a tax on themselves at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at

At tonight’s public hearing, downtown merchants can voice their opinion in favor or against the Downtown Santa Ana Business Improvement District (BID) renewal to councilmembers. The hearing is a part of the annual business license tax assessment of the BID.  

A BID is a type of special assessment district in which business owners collectively choose to be assessed, with proceeds used by local business organizations to improve and promote the business district, according to The City of Santa Ana.

The Santa Ana BID was established to provide funding for promoting community events, as well as increase security presence, improve maintenance, and overall enhance the downtown area.

The BID is funded by an additional charge on the business license tax for businesses within the boundary, which spans from First to Eighth between Parton and Mortimer. The boundaries of the BID have not changed since being founded in 1984, and include over 600 retail, service, and professional members.

At a November 5 meeting, City Council approved the Downtown Santa Ana BID 2020 Assessment Report, which offers an annual projected budget of $200,000 split evenly between Downtown Inc. and the Santa Ana Business Council, BID’s two administrative bodies.

The proposed budget would be used for event promotions throughout the year, including community events such as holiday festivals, OC Pride, art walks, and more.

Public comment surrounding this budget proposal may concern the type of business taxes levied on businesses operating in the BID.

Currently, amusement services, pawn brokers, service stations, as well as Classification “A” businesses — retail sales, hotels, motels, theaters, and food establishments — pay an extra 150 percent of their annual business license fee.

Additionally, commercial rental properties and residential properties pay an extra 25 percent of their annual business license fee while all other businesses pay a regular annual business fee, according to the report.

Tonight’s council meeting will take place at the City Council Chamber at 22 Civic Center Plaza at 5:45 PM.

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