Renewal Ballot 2023
What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?
Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographically-defined area, where businesses come together and agree to invest collectively in projects and services that the businesses believe will improve their trading environment. BID projects are new and additional projects and services; they do not replace services that are already provided by Clackmannanshire Council and other statutory bodies.
BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the non-domestic sector by means of a compulsory levy, which the eligible persons in the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established. Each eligible person liable to pay the BID levy will be able to vote on whether the BID goes ahead.
For the ballot to be successful there must be a minimum turnout of 25% by number of eligible voters (the headcount) and rateable value, with the majority voting in favour by both number and rateable value. This protects the small and large businesses as the voting system requires all four conditions to be met.
Alloa’s Town Centre BID first became operational in October 2008. Over the past 15 years, the BID has invested over £1,500,000 of levy payer’s money into Alloa town centre; the highlights and achievements are documented in this business plan.
The continuation of Alloa First and the services it provides are not a certainty. In August 2023, along with all eligible businesses in the Alloa Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) area, you will be invited to vote on whether you would like to see the proposals detailed in the Business Plan delivered over the next five years.
This is your opportunity to continue to make a difference.
Vote Yes ….Vote Alloa First
The BID levy explained
Who will pay the levy?
A BID levy is an equitable and fair way of funding additional projects and services, which the local authority and other statutory bodies are not required to provide. There are approximately 269 commercial properties in the BID area which will generate a BID investment levy income of approximately £166,400 per annum and an estimated total levy income of £832,000 over 5 years.
It has been agreed by the BID Board:
- The levy structure will be based on a banded system fixed on the rateable value (RV) of the property on the day of the ballot 5th October 2023 and remain the same throughout the 5-year term of the BID.
- There will be no increase in the levy throughout the the BID term because of a non-domestic rateable evaluation occurring during the BID term.
- The BID levy will be paid by the property occupier – the person liable to pay the non-domestic rate.
- All eligible occupiers (of eligible properties) i.e., the eligible person liable to pay the non-domestic rate that are listed on the Local Assessors Valuation Roll on the ballot date will be liable to pay the levy.
- The levy payments are not linked to what businesses actually pay in rates but are based on the rateable value of the property.
- The levy must be paid either in one payment within 28 days from the date of the levy invoice or in 10 instalments by arrangement with Clackmannanshire Council billing body.
- If there is a change, in occupier to a property, until a new occupier is found, the property owner will be responsible for paying the levy.
- Any new commercial development, subdivision of existing properties or merging of properties or new business with a non-domestic rateable valuation coming into the area during the 5-year term of the business improvement district will be liable for the BID levy.
- If a property is vacant on the day the levy invoice is issued for any subsequent vacant periods, the property owner will be liable to pay the levy.
- The levy will apply to all properties with a rateable value. Levy bandings will be applied with a maximum banding at £50,000 and above.
- The levy will rise with inflation, linked to the Government’s CPI unless the BID Board of Directors vote against.
- The BID Board decided that there is no benefit from being part of the BID to the following categories of property and therefore are exempt from paying the levy e.g., Ad-spaces, ATM’s, Store rooms.
Collection of the BID Levy
Clackmannanshire Council will collect the investment levy on behalf of the Alloa First BID, as this will be an efficient, safe and cost-effective method of collection.
Clackmannanshire Council will lodge the levy within a BID Revenue Account. The BID levy can only be drawn down by the Board of Directors of the BID to allow the delivery of the business plan.
The BID Revenue Account and levy cannot be accessed by Clackmannanshire Council nor can it be used by the Council as an additional source of income.
In the event of any non-payment of the BID improvement levy, it will be strongly pursued by Clackmannanshire Council (as the billing body) using the recovery powers available to the Council to ensure complete fairness to all the businesses that have paid. Clackmannanshire Council will be entitled to charge an additional fee to the levy amount to meet any additional costs incurred in the recovery of the levy.
Baseline Services Agreement
A baseline service agreement ensures that Alloa First will not use the levy money to duplicate any services provided by Clackmannanshire Council and Police Scotland. The services directly delivered by Alloa First will be additional to any statutory services. The baseline services agreement gives an assurance that the levy payment will only be used for additional projects as outlined in this Business Plan and voted on in the renewal ballot in October 2023. A baseline agreement avoids the risk that public agencies including Clackmannanshire Council will not reduce its statutory level of service to the BID area following a successful ballot.
Example Baseline Services include:
Street lighting, car parking, estate management, street furniture, public conveniences, trading standards, traffic enforcement, public transport services.
The Voting Process
You will receive a notification of the ballot in mid-August.
On the 24th August, the eligible person with the authority to vote in each business will receive a ballot paper and Alloa First Business Plan 2023 – 2028.
Ballot papers are easy to complete, with either a cross for YES or NO to the question “Are you in favour of a Business Improvement District”? Ballot papers must be signed by the person eligible to vote and returned in the pre-paid envelope provided. All votes must be received by CES(London) no later than 5.00pm on Thursday the 5th October.
For the ballot to be successful there must be a minimum turnout of 25% (the headcount) by number of eligible persons and by combined rateable value; and of those who turnout, the majority must vote in favour by number and rateable value. This protects the small and large businesses as the voting system requires all four conditions to be met.
The results of the ballot must be declared within one week of the count by Clackmannanshire Council. Following a successful ballot, the decision is binding on ALL eligible levy payers within the BID area regardless of how they voted.
Following a successful ballot, the BID will commence on the 18th October and will run for a period of 5 years until 17th October 2028.
Alloa First BID Management
Following a successful ‘YES’ vote, the management and operation of the BID will continue under the existing company structure and name, Alloa First Limited, Company Registration No. SC353754 which will operate from 18th October 2023.
The Company will continue to be managed by its Board of Directors operating in an open and transparent way and answerable to the businesses in the area. The Directors are committed to the highest standards of management, governance and accountability; recognizing good governance helps deliver the strategic objects of the company.
There will be a detailed set of protocols (the Operating Agreement) which will cover, as well as other items, the billing, collection and transfer of the levy to the Company.
The Board of Directors may consist of up to 12 directors, of which there are currently 9 in office. An active campaign will be launched after the successful ballot to recruit additional directors to the Board. Every eligible person that pays the levy will have the opportunity to nominate themselves or someone else from within the BID area to be elected to the Company Board but limited to one eligible person from each eligible property.
Nominations of directors, representatives, or advisors from outside the BID, who do not pay the levy and who may or may not represent those making voluntary or other financial contributions toward the BID, will be strictly at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
The Company will continue to be run by the businesses for the businesses. This Board will be responsible for all decisions relating to staff, contracts, the delivery of the approved business plan and other activities generated by the BID.
The Board will be representative of the businesses and stakeholders in the area. The Chair and Vice Chair will be elected from the directors of the Board. The Board will include one representative from Clackmannanshire Council in an advisory role. Other non-voting members or local groups may be co-opted onto the Board at the Board’s discretion.
The Alloa First Board of Directors will have the authority to adapt or alter the projects and services from year to year to reflect any change in economic circumstances or any new opportunities that may arise. This will be in the best interests of the levy payers and without recourse to an alteration ballot.
Additionally, the Alloa First Board of Directors reserve the right to consider creating a charitable arm of the company to enable it to secure additional funding, which can only be sourced with charitable status.
We’ve put together a handy FAQ in case there’s anything else you’re unsure about. If this doesn’t answer your question, please get in touch with Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact the office on 01259 211944 or pay us a visit at 49 High Street. We are always here to help.