After six years of involvement with the Business Improvement District board, and about one year as a board member, Peekskill business owner Patty Villanova has resigned from the BID board.
“The BID is being used to promote political agendas and by a select few to benefit themselves,” Villanova told the Peekskill Common Council at its May 9 meeting. The city is responsible for the BID’s management, but has not managed it with integrity, said Villanova, a Putnam Valley resident who owns in Peekskill.
She also requested the BID be abolished, a request she has made publicly in the past.
“Tax payers should not be forced to support another layer of shadow government. The BID was a good idea that has been put to a bad use, far beyond what it was ever intended to do,” Villanova said.
Peekskill's BID was created in 1995 to increase business in the city's downtown area and is run by the Peekskill Business District Management Association (Association). It is funded with $100,000 annually from the special assessment on taxable commercial properties.
Villanova has been speaking out about BID practices since she first got involved about six years ago and refers to herself a “whistle-blower.” In September 2010, BID board members voted her out of her position as chairperson of the board. She says this was because she personally hired attorneys to analyze the by-laws and questioned the association's transparency at a meeting.
She called for a delay in the its renewal after a state comptroller’s audit report found that the city of Peekskill had no written agreement with the BID and that its oversight had been inadequate. Since the audit, the city the BID, and has responded and taken set forth by the state comptroller.