Council due to vote ‘yes’ to BID – despite calls to abstain and let businesses decide

Boston Borough Council's scrutiny committee discussed the BID reelection on Wednesday night
Boston Borough Council's scrutiny committee discussed the BID reelection on Wednesday night

Boston Borough Council’s cabinet will be asked to vote in favour of Boston BID - despite opposition councillors believing businesses should decide for themselves.

The decision to recommend the council vote yes for the renewal of the BID succeeded with a 4-4 vote at a meeting of a scrutiny committee last night (Wednesday) - the deciding vote was cast by chairman Mark Baker.

However, a heated debate took place about whether the council should actually abstain from using its 17 votes and let the businesses decide for themselves whether BID should continue - a recommendation which was voted down 5-3.

Coun Paul Goodale said: “I can see the things BID has done over the past few years, however, I believe we should abstain, simply because we don’t run a business in Boston.

He added: “I’m on Boston Borough Council but that’s the rate payers of Boston paying not me.

“We do believe it should be the people who the BID is there to support and represent that should make the decision not the borough council.”

Others said Boston Borough Council was a service provider not a business.

Founder member, cabinet member and the council’s representative on the BID board Derek Richmond however disagreed, calling Boston borough ‘one big business’.

He said: “We’re looking after people in the town.”

Assembly Rooms owner Matt Clark, BID’s Chamber of Commerce representative added: “What we’re trying to say is that there’s a BID ward and we want to represent the businesses that you run in this area.”

At one point during the meeting BID member Jenny Brewster told Coun Carol Taylor - one of those advocating abstention - to ‘shut up’, and also said that if Boston Borough Council did decide not to vote at all they should remove their representatives from the board.

Coun Alison Austin also said she felt uncomfortable with the council’s head of Environment and Development Steve Lumb’s use of the word ‘I’ in the conclusion of his report.

There are 552 businesses in the BID area and for a successful ballot 20 per cent of eligible voters must participate.

For BID to be successfully re-elected more than 50 per cent of those who vote must vote yes and they must represent more than 50 per cent of the total rateable value of the votes cast.

Ballot papers will be despatched by Sunday, September 29 with the close of ballot being on Sunday, October 27.