The BOURNEMOUTH Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) was unable to collect almost 40% of its fee from traders in the fiscal year the pandemic hit.
But the BID says a “partnership” approach with business has since enabled it to bring in much of the remaining money.
The BID’s latest accounts, for the year ending June 2021, show the maximum levy it could have collected in that year was £653,585. But in June 2021, its collection rate was 62.74%.
In his annual report, BID President Martin Davies said: “The collection rate is below the usual 96% due to the coronavirus pandemic and various lockdowns, but the continuation of the exceptional levy, which has been delayed due to lockdown, is now ongoing. carried out. »
BID Director of Operations Paul Kinvig told the Daily Echo that the collection rate for 2020-2021 has improved since the accounts were closed and is now likely at 85-90%.
BIDs are not allowed to waive the tax, but Town Center BID agreed payment plans with the companies and avoided suing them.
“We felt we would take a partnership and collaborative approach with taxpayers, understanding what they were going through,” Mr. Kinvig said.
The BID is financed by a levy of 1.5% on the taxable value of 700 eligible companies.
The President’s report highlighted the support provided to businesses during the pandemic.
The lockdowns sabotaged many events planned for 2020, including the popular Christmas Tree Wonderland, but he supported a “reduced range of Christmas facilities” in partnership with the BCP Council.
Royalty payers received free stalls at outdoor markets, while BID initiatives included “queue here” stickers when stores reopened, signs reminding people to wear masks, window vinyls and promotional campaigns. The BID also promoted the downtown gift card.
The report says the BID carried out deep cleaning of sidewalks, including steam cleaning and chewing gum removal, during the lockdown in April and May 2021.
He also cleaned and painted much of the city’s infrastructure during the pandemic, including streetlights and bollards. He funded all of the flower stands and hanging baskets in town at once, as the council had not funded them.
The BID spent £308,776 net instead of the expected £480,934.
City center rangers employed by the BID were made redundant during the lockdown and the BID received £31.22 from the coronavirus retention scheme.
The BID, created in 2012, has just won a vote giving it a mandate for a third five-year term. The poll saw 75.6% of voting companies endorsing the BID, with a turnout of 32.1%.