The development of a Business Improvement District for Barrhead Town Centre is underway. Here are some frequently asked questions about BID's and what it means for Barrhead.
I have a business with premises that have two rateable values and are liable for two sets of non-domestic rates. Does this mean I pay two levies even if they are small?
Yes, the levy is based on properties within the BID area that are liable to pay the non-domestic rate. Every non domestic property will have a separate levy. In Barrhead BID this levy is the responsibility of the occupier (the person liable to pay the non-domestic rate) of each non domestic property and where vacant it is the responsibility of the landlord or property owner. Rateable values are set by the Scottish Assessors and each Assessor is an independent official. To be completely fair to all proposed levy payers and to have a common and easily sourced number from which to calculate the levy the steering group took the decision to apply the levy based on the Rateable Value of the property as set out on the SAA website.
What will it do for Barrhead?
Barrhead town centre businesses and organisations have a golden opportunity to plan and get ready for the planned 10 years of inward investment, new housing, commercial development, transport links and visitor attractions that are planned for our town. Our town centre should be a dynamic place where our residents want to spend time and now is our chance to take steps towards the future growth.
The BID could generate the financial resources to get things done.
It can help increase footfall and bring about improvements to the town.
How does Barrhead become a BID?
A period of extensive consultation has begun over the summer to identify the BID area and the priorities as local shoppers and businesses see them.
From these discussions a Proposal will be drawn up which will include delivery guarantees, performance indicators and management structure.
The BID Proposal is voted on by the eligible person liable to pay the non-domestic rate – not the ratepayer
Businesses must vote in favour of a BID in order for it to be established.
The vote is a postal ballot conducted by an independent agency.
A BIDs mandate is for a maximum of 5 years. A BID wishing to continue beyond 5 years must reaffirm their mandate through a renewal ballot.
Who is involved?
The BID is led by a Steering Group that includes a mix of businesses and organisations based in the town centre. The Steering Group has been formed from local businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce have appointed a consultant Laura Molloy as Project Coordinator.
How much will it cost me?
This is to be decided once we have spoken to the business and put the business plan together. To ensure that the BID satisfies your needs, it is important that we have a fully costed business plan. This will take time and can only be achieved when we know what you want.
BIDs across Scotland have each agreed a levy with their local businesses. The levy is decided locally by the Barrhead BID Steering Group. The levy is based on the assessed rateable valuation of the property of the business . It is not based on what the business actually pays.
The levy is agreed and if the ballot goes through every business is required to contribute to the Business Plan. The Local Authority will collect the levy from each businesses and hold it in a separate account that is managed by the East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.
When is the Ballot likely to take place?
The Barrhead BID team are aiming for April 2015. Ballot papers are sent out to all businesses a minimum of 42 days before the ballot deadline. It may be that the ballot papers get sent to the local business address or to the Head Office, it all depends on who holds the vote. Once dispatched, the ballot period runs for a minimum of 42 days your ballot papers, therefore, need to be completed and returned before the deadline. Details of the ballot will be sent to all eligible persons a minimum of 42 days before the close of the ballot.
How does the Ballot Work?
The vote is a postal ballot conducted by an independent agency and is carried out under strict guidelines and regulations.
There must be at least a 25% turnout at the Ballot of all eligible properties owners registered in the BID area. Of them 50% must vote in agreement to the BID Business Plan.
Of the eligible properties owners that vote 50% of the total RV of these properties or eligible persons must vote yes.
If the vote is approved, all eligible properties owners, irrespective of how they voted are legally bound to pay the investment levy for each of the five years.
How long will the BID run for?
The BID will run for 5 years. The BID can then seek renewal by going to ballot again, when businesses will decide whether to renew the BID.
Who is in the BID area?
The Barrhead BID will run from the train station bridge at The Brig Inn, up Cross Arthurlie Street, include the Westbourne Centre, then along Main Street until the Health Centre.
Who pays for a BID?
The BID levy is based upon the rateable value of the building in order to treat all businesses in a transparent manner.
Eligible persons liable to pay the non domestic rate within the BID area pay for the BID through a separate levy invoice that is raised by the local council.
The levy is payable on the Rateable Value of the property and not on the actual rates you pay.
The specific level of any investment is the decision of the business community. It the businesses who vote on the BID proposal and it are the businesses who decide on the investment levy.
If the ballot is successful and voted no, will I still have to pay?
Yes, if a majority (over 50%) of those that vote, vote in favour by both number & rateable value, the levy will become mandatory.
Payment of the levy carries the same enforcement as non-domestic rates.
If voted in who will manage the BID?
If local businesses back the plan the existing Steering Group stand down and the BID will be run by a new company, a wholly independent, non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee.
It would have a Board of Directors, comprising members elected from all the business sectors, and representation from East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.
Will the BID just replace what the Local Authority should be doing anyway?
The BID does not replace statutory activities or services carried out by East Renfrewshire Council, Police and other public agencies.
The BID will agree with ERC a Baseline Agreement that will confirm the statutory and non-statutory services they will be held to deliver during the life of a Business Plan.
The BID looks to provide additional benefits to Barrhead businesses and organisations and not replace services they can expect from them.
The great thing about a BID is that the projects are set by businesses, through a series of consultations. The money is kept local, and spent locally, for the benefit of the local area.
Who is eligible to vote?
This is laid down by statute from the Scottish Government; It is the eligible person to pay the non domestic rate. We endeavor to contact each business and organisation by email, post, online, local press and face to face to identify the actual person responsible to vote. This is likely to be the business owner in the case of locally owned businesses. Responsibility for regional or national companies may be held at head office level. For such companies it would be advisable that you contact your head office about the initiative and keep them informed.
Find out more
There are lots of information resources on BIDs at the Bids Scotland website www.bids-scotland.com