Some of the misconceptions about the BID have been fueled by misinformation from BID opponents. Lets try and correct some of those;
“The BID group did not consult properly”
The BID group consisted of 16 people, 12 of who regularly attended meetings and actively promoted the process. We had face to face meetings with 10 businesses each (not all visits were successful as the owner was not available). That is about 150 businesses. We held 7 well publicised business meetings at the Dartmouth Yacht club and we distributed 2 printed newsletters by hand to as many businesses as we could. The Business Plan was sent to all registered business addresses as required by the BID legislation. As well as regular articles in the Dartmouth Chronicle, the Business Forum website was extended to allow BID information to be communicated as well. This went to a circulation of 450 people (not all businesses, as other stakeholders are on the circulation). Our consultation process was as good, if not better, than many BID’s.
“the majority of businesses did not get the plan or the ballot paper”
BID legislation specifically states that we were only allowed to communicate with the registered business address. There is a very good reason for this which Dartmouth illustrates perfectly. It is to ensure that local business owners cannot be overruled by businesses that are owned by people outside the BID district, such as the national chains and e.g. second home owners. Who will not be so interested in supporting a town they do not live in. See stats below for more info
“there are 744 levy paying businesses in the town”
I have corrected this misrepresentation so many times I am hoping to settle this here. There are 744 business rated premises in town not 744 businesses. Some businesses own multiple premises, eg SHDC has 13 rated premises and DTC has 7 I think it is. Of the remaining premises (SHDC say there are 630 separate businesses represented in the town) on Norton Park alone there are 163 premises that are owned by people who live in other parts of the country and not in the BID District. Of the other accommodation providers 107 are not resident in Dartmouth. This means that there are actually at the most about 360 business owners in the Dartmouth BID district, which is what I have quoted before. So a vote of 162 in favour of the BID is a significant number of those. Of course I am playing the statistics game here and using the stats to my advantage, but it does illustrate that you cannot believe everything you read and puts a different slant on the support for the BID in the town itself.
Of course the current BID Board has sent their ballot to all 270 outside business owners so I will be asking the Board the question – how many votes came from outside Dartmouth? This ballot is not governed by BID legislation but by Company legislation so this is legal, but will distort the result in favour of people who don’t live here.
The following come from the website Dartmouth BID Concern:
“The BID increased the levy without a variation ballot”
As explained many times the brochure designer used the wrong chart in the final plan. The correct levy tables were used during the whole consultation process and at all the business meetings. This was a printing error and I took detailed legal advice before confirming that the correct lower levy was £150 and £300. Unfortunately the Board at the time decided to ignore the legal advice and not to consult with the collecting authority, so they were forced to back track on their decision to reduce the lower levy rates. I am sure they were well intentioned, but it was the wrong decision and made the BID Company look incompetent.
“The idea of the Dartmouth BID Project originated with retired businessman Paul Reach a high flying industrialist who came to live in Dartmouth”
This is a real misrepresentation that makes me laugh so much I split my sides. Firstly I did not retire here, I gave up my career in engineering to leave the rat race but needed to make a living as I was only 52!. We came here with very little funds (high flying!!) but ran a successful business here for 15 years. That was what motivated me to start the BID. Dartmouth has given us such a great life that I wanted to help Dartmouth during tough economic conditions in the Town because I feel I have skills that can help.
“Mr Reach resigned from the Chair of the BID”
This is how it was reported at the time but actually the Board voted me out of the Chair and voted Nigel Way in at a Board meeting held at the Academy. I wont discuss the reasons for this here but that is the fact. I subsequently resigned over decisions that were not in the interest of the BID Company. In particular a big investment in the TIC destination website without clear ownership rights for the BID Company and levy payers.
There are others that I will add as time goes on but this will clear up the major ones.