WHAT IS A BID?
A BID is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide, fund and agree collectively on projects and initiatives that they want to be delivered in their area to help their businesses and town thrive.
To decide what those projects should be, a thorough programme of consultation is carried out, including questionnaires, newsletters, surgeries, one to one meetings and open meetings.
Following that consultation a business plan is written which includes those suggested priorities. The BID Business Plan varies from BID to BID according to the needs and priorities of each area. When the Business Plan or proposal document has been agreed, all eligible businesses in the area have the opportunity to vote ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the BID in a formal ballot conducted by the Local Authority.
For The BID to proceed, there must be a majority vote in favour both by number and rateable value. I.e. a majority of those businesses that vote (the turnout) must vote YES, and the total rateable value of those businesses that vote in favour must be greater than the total rateable value of those that vote NO.
If the BID achieves these majorities, the BID becomes a statutory obligation on both the BID proposer (the BID company) and the BID voters. The BID Company is obliged to deliver the scheme for the lifetime of the BID (max 5 years), and there is a statutory charge on all the eligible premises within the BID areas to pay an annual levy to fund the BID, payable by the ratepayer regardless of how they voted.
BIDs work on a very simple principle where every business involved benefits and contributes proportionately. Smaller businesses pay less, and larger businesses pay more but each contributes the same percentage. Together a fund is created to deliver the BID Business Plan which has the power to make a real difference.
By ensuring everyone contributes, BIDs eliminate the freeloader effect, which tend to make other schemes fail. BIDs are fair and they have also proved to be highly effective. Each year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against the targets of the BID plan. Voters have the right to see this and hold the company to account.
31 March 2020
Taunton BID BALLOT SUSPENDED
In the extraordinary circumstances of the impact on town centres of the Coronavirus crisis, new Government advice has resulted in the suspension of the ballot for the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) in Taunton.
The BID Working Group have been actively seeking guidance from Government on the status of the Taunton BID ballot, given the ballot was mid-way through its voting period when the severe restrictions on retail and leisure outlets were brought in.
Under the terms of the COVID-19 Emergency Legislation just announced, James Hassett, Chief Executive and Returning Officer for Somerset West and Taunton Council, has decided to suspend the BID ballot with immediate effect (as of 3pm on Monday 30th March, 2020), as many businesses did not have the opportunity to vote because their businesses were severely disrupted during the voting period.
It is therefore with regret that the proposed Taunton BID will now not go ahead. Plans for the future remain uncertain.
Colin Barrell, Chair of the BID Working Group said: “There are no winners with this decision. It is a reflection of the desperate times we are all currently experiencing.
“In the past week, it has become increasingly obvious that if we had secured a mandate for the BID it would have been extremely difficult to set up the BID Company and expect businesses to pay the levy to fund the programme.
“I would like to thank everyone involved for their incredible hard work over recent months and for all who supported this scheme for Taunton.
“I hope when we come through this crisis, as a business community, we can all work together to help Taunton to recover, look after each other and serve our customers and community once again.”
More information about the proposals for the Taunton BID are available here