Sidney BIA seeks to renew for another five years

Promotions and marketing organization to collect $297,950 in 2018; counter petition under way.

The SBIA has been instrumental in promoting Sidney and events such as this year's Family Day’s Lego festival.

A renewal of the downtown business property requisition for the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA) is under way this month.

The owners of commercial properties in downtown Sidney — along Beacon Avenue and some side streets — are being given a chance to participate in the renewal of the SBIA’s funding and the SBIA itself.

The Town of Sidney is conducting an alternate approvals process — or counter petition — until Feb. 24. Commercial and light industrial property owners within the SBIA boundary have until then to register their opposition to the plan to collect $297,950 in 2018. the estimated levy this year is $1.02 per $1,000 of assessed value. Under the proposed renewal, that amount will increase by 2.5 per cent each year until 2022, at which time the amount collected will be $328,881.

The SBIA started its first five-year term in 2013 and the levy from the property owners was $250,000.

If a majority of the owners — at least 50 per cent, according to the Town — petition the municipality, the Town will not proceed with collecting the money through a  property value tax. They have until 4 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 24.

The SBIA recently released a brochure outlining its successes as an organization. It was formed to market and promote Sidney in the region and further afield, as well as co-ordinate events among non-for-profit organizations.

SBIA President Susan Simosko says their activities, such as the promotion of Sidney’s Family Day long weekend events, have been “extremely successful.”

“We’ve got people from all over the region coming to Sidney,” she said. “We’ve been able to attract a greater diversity of people.”

Anecdotally, Simosko said she’s heard from businesses within their boundary that customer traffic was good over the summer. While not quantifiable, Simosko added they keep track of stories written about Sidney made possible by the SBIA, their marketing targets, engaging with their members and visitor traffic numbers. The SBIA also established the Sidney Event Advisory Group to enhance the promotion of events in town.

The SBIA is now involved with direct visitor engagement. On Dec. 31 they took over the Town of Sidney’s visitor services contract at the Beacon Avenue tourist centre. That contract is a different revenue stream and does not come out of the SBIA’s main levy.

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