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Sidney council to debate BIA counter-petition

Sidney municipal staff are recommending that a new bylaw to begin a counter-petition on a proposed downtown business improvement area (BIA) levy be approved Monday night, Jan. 14.

Town councillors are expected to discuss, and potentially vote, on Bylaw 2045 — to give affected commercial property owners in the downtown core notice of the alternate approvals process on the BIA proposal. Council had unanimously approved the development of the bylaw late last year and had expressed their support of the BIA, as developed by the Sidney Business Development Group (SBDG).

The proposed BIA, if it survives the counter-petition, would establish a five-year BIA, set the boundaries of which commercial properties are included, charge a levy based on property assessment and collect $250,000 in 2013 with an increase of 2.5 per cent in each of the last four years of the BIA. The Town would only be the collection agency for the BIA.

Money collected in the levy would be used to market the downtown retail area of Sidney to a broad audience, in an attempt to better the local economy.

Should council grant their assent Monday night, owners of commercial properties would be notified of the counter-petition. They would have 30 days in which to register their opposition. Town chief administrative officer Randy Humble has said the BIA bylaw would pass if a majority of property owners, representing the majority of the assessed value in the BIA area, did not register their opposition.

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