Southport has only been through one BID ballot before, so whilst Southport BID (Business Improvement District) has been working in the town since 2014 the process of voting is something that many won’t be that familiar with.
I thought that as we are nearing the end of the ballot process it would be useful to share some insight and information that readers might not be aware of.
Individual BIDs operate all over the country, in fact there are now over 300, but each has in common the procedures and governance that it must follow, as set down by central government. The ballot in particular has to adhere to a set of strict rules, with all of the counting carried out independently by the Electoral Reform Service in London.
At the moment the country seems to be regularly going to the polls, but unlike other votes, the BID ballot is all carried out by post. People have to vote to have their say, by abstaining this counts neither as a yes or no and we’d encourage all who have a vote to do so. The last date to guarantee the paper arrives on time is counted is the 28th so please do not miss your chance to have your say.
The businesses that vote are also the businesses that pay the BID levy, which depends upon rateable value; in Southport this means businesses with a rateable value of £6,999 or above. However, it should also be remembered that the work of Southport BID is intended to benefit the whole of the town, whether it be through footfall on event days, ongoing town-wide projects such as seasonal planting or the continued promotion of all businesses through projects such as Southport Independents or Restaurant Week. Importantly, as is a requirement of all BIDs, every project that we do can only be for additional services or resources to those provided by the council.
The ballot papers are sent to the business owner, with each property getting one vote, and one vote only. If there is no tenant in a property, the papers are sent to the property owner for them to vote. When the votes are counted there is a calculation made that means that the total of all the rateable values that say ‘yes’ must be higher than those saying ‘no’.
Southport BID only employs a small team of 4, so the fact that we have been able to create so many projects, events and campaigns is also thanks in part to our Board and the time and expertise they personally invest. All represent local businesses and, if the next term goes ahead, there will be the opportunity for other local businesses to also get involved.
Finally, if you’d like to find out more about the work of Southport BID, the projects that we’ve delivered and our future vision for Southport, please have a look at our website where you’ll see our 2019-2024 Business Plan. You can also get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01704 538382