BOSTON BID VOTE: Trader urges firms to say ‘no’ to five more years of BID

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A concerned trader fears businesses could end up getting another five years of Boston BID ‘by default’ if they are not careful.

Michael Cox, of Boston Insurance Services, feels that the BID has done nothing in its first five years to justify being re-elected.

Mr Cox was one of the traders who, when BID went to the vote in 2008, did not take part in the ballot and only later came to realise that if a BID is established then regardless of whether, or how, you vote you will have to pay the levy.

He said the turnout last time, which was just above the 20 per cent needed, showed a ‘total lack of interest’ in the project.

He told The Standard: “I think that unless there is a concerted campaign to talk against it then it might just slip through by default.

“I am certainly going to try to talk to the businesses in my immediate vicinity.”

He added that he felt there really ought to be a rule where that unless the turnout was 50 per cent a ‘yes’ vote was impossible and believes a lot of the traders who were not around in 2008 will not be aware of the significance of the upcoming vote.

He said: “There would have been lots of businesses starting in the last five years that probably don’t realise what the surcharge is that they have been paying.

“A lot of people won’t realise that if they don’t vote it’s still going to cost them.”

The BID team says that it provides a service for traders – pointing to projects such as the Town Rangers as evidence of where traders’ levy is spent.

Mr Cox feels that the services offered should be picked up by Boston Borough Council and the police, and criticised the BID for failing to deliver on its 2008 business plan – where it had hoped to rake in £650,000 in funding. It now says it pulled in more than £200,000 in cash and benefit in kind.

Mr Cox feels that cash should be attracted to the town by council officers without the need for a BID.

The West Street businessman said: “I just feel that they never got close to the original proposals.

“I don’t think what has been achieved in the past five years justifies going on for another five years.

“If you could see them doing something that hadn’t been done before or shouldn’t be done by the council then perhaps.”

The council has courted controversy, with members recommending its votes as a’business’ in the town are used to vote ‘yes’. That could be approved by the cabinet on October 9.

Mr Cox said: “I think the council should be out of the picture. It’s to their advantage if there’s a BID in place because it takes some of the pressure off them.”