For business owners in Port Jefferson who think that the outside of their building is in need of a little TLC, a new grant recently unveiled by the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District (BID) might help them to get some overdue work done.

The BID is using $20,000 in surplus funds to help business owners spruce up by matching 50 percent of the cost of upgrades up to $1,000 per project.

BID acting-president Roger Rutherford told GreaterPortJeff that the funds will cover five specific types of improvement projects:

  1. Painting the outside of a building
  2. Facade upgrades like siding
  3. Graffiti removal
  4. Permanent landscape projects
  5. Signage

The grant might work like this: If a business is in need of a new sign that costs $500, the BID would kick in $250 toward the approved project with the business owner coming up with the remaining $250. For an approved project costing $2,500, the BID would kick in up to the maximum grant of $1,000, with the business owner having to pony up the remaining cost of $1,500.

Eligible businesses must be within the BID district, meaning the building owner pays a special tax levied by the village that goes toward the organization, which is then dedicated to improving the appearance and quality of the village’s business district.

“The goal is to spend that back on the business community,” said Rutherford. “Over the years we’ve done many things to improve business.”

Rutherford explained that the grant is only a portion of the BID’s surplus. The total assessment brings in about $83,000 annually. 

“Whatever we don’t’ spend becomes the surplus and we look for ways to spend that money to improve the business district,” he said.

Since the program was announced two weeks ago, the BID received two applications. One was out of the business district and wasn’t eligible for the program and the second is currently under review by the BID board.

Eligible businesses looking to take advantage of the grant can go to the Port Jefferson BID website and download an application.

A business owner doesn’t need to be the actual building owner to take advantage of the program. It’s open to any business in the BID district if the landlord of the building pays the tax.

“If there is a taxpayer on a building that might have multiple stores — any retailer, merchant or restaurant — the landlord or tenant is eligible,” Rutherford said.

The program will run until December 2020 or when they run out of funds and if it’s successful, Rutherford says the BID will consider running it again.

The village also worked with the BID to add another incentive to the program.

“Any permit fees that are required [for eligible projects] are waived by the village,” said Rutherford. 

He said that the village board and Mayor Margot Garant worked closely with the BID on this program.

“This is in partnership with village and the village has been very helpful in rolling this out,” he said.

You can watch a video on social media featuring Garant and Rutherford announcing the program.

the application

For more information and to download an application head over to the Port Jefferson BID website.

Top: Photo courtesy of Andrew Theodorakis/Yellow House Images.