The Local Government (Business Improvement Districts), Act provides for the establishment of Business Improvement Districts within Council areas.
Business Improvement District schemes provide a mechanism by which businesses may develop and deliver initiatives designed to benefit and improve the areas and environment in which they operate. They enable schemes for projects, services and works to be carried out for the benefit of the district.
The range of possible services and improvements is broad. They may range from cleaning to promotions, hospitality and special events.
They may include, for example, physical improvements, street furniture, special lighting and signage. They are complementary to the services provided by the local authority, which continue to be provided.
Where a majority of traders agree, they may raise a special contribution payable by all in the area, paid for carrying out of local services and the improvement within that area. The areas concerned and the proposed works and services etc. to be provided, are to be defined in the Business Improvement District schemes.
A company, representative of traders in the area and the local authority is established. The company is empowered to carry out the scheme and provide a range of services and improvements set out in it. The schemes are financed by the imposition and collection of a levy on rateable properties within the district.
There procedure for submission of a proposal to the rating authority and for its approval are set out in the legislation. The proposal is to be made available to the public. Representations by the public are taken into account in formulating the scheme.
There is ultimately a vote, in order to determine the level of support amongst traders in the district. If less than 20 percent of rate payers vote in favour of the scheme, the proposers are liable to pay all the costs incurred. Those costs may be recovered as a simple contract debt from the proposer, or where there are more than one, from the proposers jointly.
The legislation sets out provisions in a relation to procedural matters such as those for meetings. It provides for preparation and adoption of a budget, following approval of the scheme. A separate fund is established following approval of the scheme.
There is a formula for the determination of the annual business improvement district multiplier, which is be levied against valuation of each property in the district. It determines the BID contribution levy for each property within the district.
The rateable valuation of a property may be amended during the annual period. If it is amended, the levy paid is recalculated in the manner provided by the legislation. There is provision for a levy on newly constructed property. In the event of demolition or destruction of a rateable property, the levy payer may apply for a refund or credit of the levy paid. There is proviso for the calculation of the refund or credit.
There is provision for early termination of the schemes in certain circumstances, by the rating authority or by the relevant company. There are provisions for final accounting arrangements in relation to conclusion and termination of a Business Improvement District scheme.
Contribution levies are under the care and management of the rating authority. The local authority uses its revenue collecting powers, in order to collect the special contribution on behalf of the traders.
It collects and provides funds, net of costs, to the company in order to finance the services and improvements. . Business Improvement District monies received by rating authorities, do not go into the general local authority fund.
The person liable to pay the levy is the person who is an occupation on the “entry” date. If the property is occupied on the entry date, the person who owns the property is liable. If a property is unoccupied at the entry date, there is a fifty percent remission.
Notice of levy is send by post to the person liable, the levy payer. The dates specified may be not less than 14 days from the date on which the notice is sent to both levy payer must pay the full amount of the levy to the rating authority by the dates specified.