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Voters favor continued funding for Durango Business Improvement District

79% of votes cast support continuing BID with 2 mill property tax
Business Improvement District Ambassadors Ginny Chambers, left, and Sheri Rochford Figgs speak with Kyle Eickleberry along Main Avenue in 2016. Commercial property owners, business owners and even residents within the BID voted to approve continued funding for the city’s business wing through 2041. Final election results showed 77 votes in favor of funding the BID and 21 opposing votes. (Durango Herald file)

Commercial property owners, business owners and residents within the Durango Business Improvement District gave their approval on Tuesday to continue funding the BID through 2041.

Final election results were 77 votes in favor of funding the BID and 21 votes opposing it, according to the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

Ninety-eight total votes had been cast.

“That’s very exciting for us,” BID Executive Director Tim Walsworth said. “The BID works very hard for the all the businesses that it works for. And it’s nice to see that so far, there’s pretty overwhelming support for the BID to continue for the next 15 to 17 years.”

The Durango Herald reached out to BID Board of Directors Chairman James Allred for comment, but did not receive a response.

The BID is known for programs like its downtown ambassador program, where part-time staff members work downtown to greet tourists and direct people to their destinations, including restaurants, services and even public restrooms.

Its seasonal rewards programs, originally created early in the COVID-19 pandemic to give businesses a boost by encouraging downtown shopping with gift cards, has generated $860,000 in local revenue.


It is funded by a property tax of 2.0 mills and produces popular local events every year such as the Downtown Balloon Glow that lights up downtown Durango, the Downtown Clean Day every Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the United Way of Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Brewfest and Singing With Santa each November.

The property tax that funds the BID was scheduled to expire at the end of 2026, according to the official ballot question.

The last BID election was held 13 years ago in November 2010. Of 356 total votes cast, 246 voters approved funding the BID and 110 voters opposed, Walsworth said.

“That’s 69% in favor, 31% not in favor. So a fairly convincing set of results,” he said.

Only commercial property and business owners and residents within the BID, which is made up of Durango’s central business district and North Main Avenue to the northern city limits, were eligible to participate in the BID funding election.

The ballot question of whether or not to continue funding the BID wasn’t printed on most voters’ ballots.

About 1,500 commercial property and business owners, and a small number of residents, are located in the BID, Walsworth said.

There are about 400 commercial properties within the BID. Many of those properties house multiple businesses, about 800 to 1,000 in total. There are also about 100 residences scattered about the commercial properties.

“We work for the business owners as well as the property owners to try to make business conditions as conducive to success as possible,” he said.

On Tuesday, his office was busy with people turning up to vote. Walsworth explained the ballot question to people and helped them understand if they are eligible for participate in the election.

“BID has done an amazing amount of work with a very small budget for 27 years in a row,” he said. “… Seeing a lot of ballots coming in today. I’m in my office till seven o’clock and I’m able to receive them all right here. … And so we’re seeing a good amount of people getting those ballots turned in today.”

Walsworth said the BID operates on an annual budget of about $300,000 that is mostly funded by property taxes, with a bit of funding coming from event sponsorships and promotions.


A previous version of this story inaccurately reported the revenue generated by the Durango Business Improvement District’s rewards program, which is approximately $860,000 since the program’s inception in 2020.

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