Voting on the BID will close on Wednesday April 20. Photo majorlook.co.nz
More than 300 business and commercial property owners in Warkworth will begin to vote next month on the question of whether or not to form a Business Improvement District.
The volunteer-run Warkworth Area Business Association is promoting the BID vote, although Election Services, an independent body, will conduct the ballot.
Registered voters should begin receiving their ballot papers on March 29 and voting will close at midday on Wednesday, April 20. The result should be known later that day.
Voters will be asked the simple question of whether or not they are in favour of setting up a BID in Warkworth.
A BID represents a partnership between Auckland Council and the business sector aimed at engaging in activities that enhance business outcomes at a local level, but do not replicate services provided by Council.
Rather than a voluntary membership, a BID imposes a mandatory levy on commercial properties, across a defined business area, which is collected annually as a targeted rate. All money collected via the targeted rate goes to the business association.
The rate is calculated on the capital value of a property and the Warkworth BID is suggesting a hybrid method, which involves setting a nominal flat rate per business and then above that amount, a proportional rate based on capital value.
Some of the core objectives of a BID are to foster economic growth and employment, improve amenities, safety, marketing and promotion. Unlike their forerunners, the Mainstreet programmes which primarily focused on the retail sectors, BID programmes embrace all business types including retail, commercial and industrial.
There are currently 46 BID partnerships across Auckland, representing more than 25,000 businesses.
While a primary focus of a BID is to deliver local economic development, the approach also provides a catalyst for business associations to advocate to Auckland Council for appropriate infrastructure to support business activity, and contributes a business perspective for Council and Local Board policies and initiatives.
Activities that BID Partnership Programmes undertake include:
- Street environment such as providing cleaning services in addition to existing Council services and beautification projects
- Safety and security
- Marketing and promotion
- Collective purchasing agreements
- Service provision (additional to standard Council service or chargeable)
- Local improvement projects
- Advocacy to local and central Government and agencies
- Business development, mentoring, networking and training
- Sustainability and resilience planning
- Urban form such as heritage projects or improving the accessibility of businesses
A BID is run by a governance board or executive committee, which is elected by members and ideally represents the types of businesses within the BID.
To achieve a mandate, the Warkworth ballot must achieve a threshold of at least 25 per cent of the total voting forms returned. Of the returned voting forms, a minimum of 51 per cent of the votes must be in favour of the proposition.
If a ballot is unsuccessful, there is a minimum two-year stand-down before an association can seek another ballot.