At 4.20pm today the BID Board announced the result of the ballot to decide on closure of the Dartmouth BID company. The content of the Board’s email is extracted below. Analysis of the results by Dartmouth Business News will be published shortly.
Further to Tuesday evening’s meeting and the vote in respect of the proposals made by the directors, the votes have been counted and the results are as follows:
Total number of Members as at 11th May 2016: 202
Total number of votes: 179
1st proposal – Alteration to the Articles of Association
Number in favour of the proposal: 153
Number against the proposal: 18
Number of abstentions: 8
Number in favour as a percentage of the total membership: 76%
2nd proposal – To close the Dartmouth BID
Number in favour of the proposal: 168
Number against the proposal: 10
Number of Abstentions: 1
Number in favour as a percentage of the total membership: 83%
A number of anomalies/discrepancies came to light in the counting process, which led SHDC to examine the membership list in detail and check this against the current ratings list. They found a number of discrepancies including, businesses that have moved or are no longer trading and paying business rates, a number of levy payers who have sent in duplicate membership applications in different business names and applications from businesses who are not actually registered to pay business rates. They also received a total of 36 ballot papers from individuals who were not members and had not applied to be a member. Although these votes were set aside, had they been included, the percentages in favour of the two proposals would have remained exactly the same as stated above – in other words it would have made no difference to the end result.
What happens now?
The BID board met last night. The results of the vote are conclusive and in respect of both proposals those in favour have exceeded the 75% threshold. Arrangements will therefore be put in motion to close down the Dartmouth BID and to replace our Articles of Association. This will involve both our lawyers and accountants and is likely to take some time. We hope that the surplus, less of course the costs of closure, will be refunded to you when this process is complete. No levy invoices will be sent in respect of the period commencing 1st June 2016.
South Hams District Council
We have been working closely with SHDC throughout this process and they are fully aware of the current position. We have been asked to include the following statement from them:
“The Council have noted the decision by Dartmouth BID Ltd to terminate operating the BID. Whilst this is disappointing, the BID businesses have spoken and the Ballot results demonstrate a reluctance for the BID to continue.
The Council will wind up the BID arrangements in accordance with the Regulations and will publish the outcome no later than 15th July.”
South Hams District Council
This vote is the conclusion of a democratic process. As a result of the very obvious lack of support, the board created this opportunity for the town’s businesses to decide whether the BID should continue or not and we must abide by the result, but there are no winners or losers here, just losers. It is a sad day for the town and a lost business opportunity, with the subsequent loss of an enormous amount of investment into the town’s economy. What is most disappointing is the large number of businesses who didn’t bother to vote at all despite all the effort and publicity given to this vote. Voting papers were sent to 665 individual levy payers and even if you were to include the 36 votes from non-members, only 215 votes were received.
We will keep you advised if there are any changes to these plans.