Sidney BIA gets a second five-year term

SBIA passes counter-petition with majority support.

Carol Whitehouse from Sidney’s Visitor Information Centre shows off one of the BIA’s umbrellas from a program back in 2013.

Carol Whitehouse from Sidney’s Visitor Information Centre shows off one of the BIA’s umbrellas from a program back in 2013.

Commercial property owners in downtown Sidney have given the local business improvement area society another five-year term.

The Sidney Business Improvement Area (SBIA) Society completed a counter-petition process to renew its annual levy from those property owners, with majority support. The counter-petition — or alternate approval process — was conducted to gauge the support for commercial property owners along Beacon Avenue and nearby side streets that fall within the boundaries of the SBIA. To succeed, the SBIA needed fewer than 50 per cent of those owners to file against the proposal.

On Feb. 24, the deadline for the counter-petition, only 5.5 per cent of those owners had registered their opposition. That represents only six per cent of the value of downtown commercial properties. By comparison, the original counter-petition process five years ago — when the SBIA began — saw the owners of 30 to 35 per cent of commercial property values petition against the levy. It still passed, however.

The process was conducted by the Town of Sidney, which was tasked as the levy collector for the SBIA. In 2013, that levy amounted to $250,000. The SBIA used that money to promote downtown businesses and events to market the area outside of Sidney’s boundaries.

“It was a clear response,” said Town of Sidney Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble.

Humble noted that of the 328 commercial properties in the BIA area, only 18 were opposed this time around.

The process means a renewal of the SBIA for another five years — and an increase to the levy from commercial property owners. In 2018, the SBIA will collect $297,950. This year, the estimated levy is $1.02 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Under the terms of the renewal, the levy will increase by 2.5 per cent each year until 2022. At that time, the annual level will reach $328,881.

“We are so pleased with this outcome and look forward to our continued collaboration with BIA members, community organizations, the Town of Sidney and the media to increase footsteps to Sidney’s downtown,” stated SBIA President and Chair Susan Simosko in a media release.

The Town of Sidney approved the renewal at council’s Monday meeting.

“I am happy to see that the Sidney BIA has been approved for another five-year term,” added Mayor Steve Price in a statement, noting that this was a 94 per cent approval rating by property owners.

“This is a strong indication that the business community supports and sees value in the BIA …”