LETTER: Why Boston needs a BID

Opinion
Opinion

As a person who is passionate about seeing Boston thrive and develop – and as the chairman of Boston BID – I felt that I had to respond to comments made by the Observer about the Boston BID re-ballot and answer some of the questions he posed.

In the first place, when Boston BID came into being in 2008, there was a total of 66 BIDs in existence.

There are now 162 active BIDs with another 61 towns in the process of setting up new BIDs. Of 162 active BIDs, 62 have had a successful re-ballot and five have had a successful second re-ballot. My point is that BIDs are a tried and tested formula and they work.

The concept of businesses coming together to contribute towards improvements to their town has been well received in many areas and because there is a defined statue that sets out how they operate there is less chance of the system being abused.

Observer finds it strange that the council should collect the money on behalf of BIDs.

It is a requirement of the law that the relevant billing authority has a duty to collect the levy.

BIDs also have to obtain information of the base line services that the council has a statutory duty to provide and will not use the levy monies to replace those services.

For example, if the council has a duty to provide a regular weekly market the BID will not take over running of that market. The BID may run the market if the council continues to fund it or may run an additional alternative market.

The costs quoted for staff are for the full five year period but, more importantly, the general overheads represent 26 per cent of the quoted income. This is deemed acceptable by BID regulations, the British Retail Consortium and Inter Banking Rating Forum.

Could these costs be reduced if Boston Borough Council ran the BID? Possibly, but probably not significantly.

I find it strange that there are many people who are prepared to knock Boston as a town and always have bright ideas on how to make improvements but, when asked to step up to the plate and become part of something that is trying to make improvements to the area they live and work in, they always have an excuse as to why they can’t get involved.

All directors of Boston BID are unpaid volunteers.

They are people who love Boston and want to see it prosper and I extend an invitation to Observer to come along to a BID board meeting and get involved.

Alan Ellis

Boston BID chairman