A majority of property owners in and around Cambodia Town along East Anaheim Street in Central Long Beach have voted in favor of establishing a new business improvement district (BID) in which they will be assessed an annual fee for beautification, public safety and economic development services.


Last month, the city mailed out ballots to approximately 52 property owners along the commercial corridor on East Anaheim Street between Raymond and Alamitos avenues.


The city clerk presented a tabulation of ballots after a public hearing on August 11, showing that property owners representing 79.53 percent of the total assessment voted in favor of establishing the Midtown BID while 20.47 percent voted against.


The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously at its meeting to move forward with establishing the new BID, which takes affect January 1 and continues through 2020. The district boundaries encompass both the 4th and 6th Council Cistricts.


The City of Long Beach did sway the vote some since it owns about 40 percent of the properties being assessed, including the Long Beach Transit facility, MacArthur Park and the Mark Twain Library. According to the tabulation, a total of 60 votes based on property valuation dollar amount were cast, and the city cast yes for 13 of those votes.


Before the final vote, the city petitioned property owners to determine whether they wanted to move forward with forming a BID, after which 28 property owners, or nearly 55 percent, returned petitions and indicated they did.


During the hearing, the only public comments came from Bruce Palmer, owner of Coast Cash Register at 1900 E. Anaheim St. who said he and other property owners are against the new BID that would increase rent for struggling Cambodian small businesses, adding that there is no guarantee businesses would be improved.


He also noted that the city had a large influence in moving forward with the BID since it owns a large portion of the properties.


Sixth District Councilmember Dee Andrews said members of Cambodia Town, which was created in 2007, have wanted to form a BID for many years, adding that it will likely help attract new businesses to t