The BID: You’ve got to know when to walk away…

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…You’ve got to know when to run.  The Kilbirnie Business Network started about five years ago as an informal group of Kilbirnie business owners and others with a common interest in the Kilbirnie business environment.

I was a part of the KBN in those earlier days.  I enjoyed the meetings, they were a good way to get to know other local business people.  The group was a community within the larger Kilbirnie community.  We talked about the various challenges we faced and took strength from one another.  The group undertook a number of useful projects.  My own contribution was creating and hosting this website.

I went along to the meetings for a couple of years but dropped out when the focus of the group shifted to engagement with the City Council which didn’t interest me.  When the KBN adopted a formal structure I declined to join the committee or become a signed-up member.

Since then I’ve observed the KBN has shifted it’s centre of gravity yet further towards a focus on council affairs.  None of my concern, you could say; if you don’t wish to be a part of it, don’t.  The good thing about such groups is you can take them or leave them.  Involvement is voluntary.

But this BID is a very different kettle of fish.  It’s a creature you can’t escape.  If you have a business in Kilbirnie and the KBN is successful in pushing this BID through (with the help of the council) you will not have a choice; you will have to pay for the care and feeding of the Business Association, like it or not.

What is this ? A Business Improvement District is a local-government concept.  The idea started overseas.  It’s a geographic district within which all private businesses must pay a special-purpose rate.  Auckland and Wellington each have only a couple of BIDs at present, it’s not that widespread yet.

The rate is separate from and in addition to all other taxes and levies payable by the business.  The Council collects the money from businesses via it’s rates-collection apparatus and pays the money to a Business Association quarterly.  If a Kilbirnie BID does come to fruition I imagine the present KBN will be the nucleus of what becomes the Business Association for the Kilbirnie BID.

So what shape does a BIDs’ Business Association take, how does it spend the funds it receives ?   The Business Association can spend the money how it likes, subject to council approval.  Quoting the Auckland rules: “any activity that supports local economic development” or “…that furthers the objectives of the business association.”

How does this work out in practice ?  Here’s a couple of quotes from an overseas BID which is “…ineffective, expensive and a violation of property owners rights.” – Ted Cassell.  “Unfairly burdens private businesses by exempting non-profits and government” – Councillor Dan Allie.  Adds an “extra layer of bureaucracy” – Councillor Cindy Harris.

Other BIDs overseas have got in deep financial trouble and been dissolved due to accumulated debts.  This despite the controls imposed by City Councils, who require the business association to prepare business plans, annual plans, strategic plans and reports.  Unfortunately all this compliance paperwork and governance and administration overhead does little to protect from failure.

The horror!  The horror! How much would your business pay ? I don’t know if the Wellington City Council has announced the rules that would apply to Kilbirnie.  Aucklands’ rules allow the business association to increase levies up to 10% each year.  Small businesses pay a flat rate, large businesses pay a proportion of their capital value.

Perhaps your conscience tells you you ought to be a part of something like this, regardless of whether the money will be well spent or not.  Nobody wants to be the Grinch.  Remember a BID is not the only way you can give something to your community.  You can contribute as an individual or as a business.  There’s an interesting emerging practice called civic crowdfunding, based on voluntary contribution.

A centre for ants ? I’d be overstating the situation if I said this BID represents a ravaging of the human soul and spirit and the end of civilisation as we know it.  Not even slightly.  All the same, we shouldn’t dismiss the sight of the KBN attempting to transform itself from a King Log into a King Stork as a trivial spectacle of no account.

Next time you’re gazing at an empty Google search box with time to kill, why not do a little research of your own on the subject of BIDs.  I admit it’s a struggle to think of a good reason why you should bother; it’s a dry topic and maybe not the best dinner-party conversation starter, but you’ll be making the world a very slightly better place.

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A BID FOR KILBIRNIE ?

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Kilbirnie Businesses look to their future
The Kilbirnie Business Network have recently received a boost to enable support for business leaders in planning for the future growth of the suburb’s 200+ businesses.
The WCC grant will allow the busy hands-on business owners to employ two contractors to fully investigate the BID model which if successfully implemented would give the Business Network the resources to promote Kilbirnie to fully reach its potential as the key business hub for eastern Wellington. The BID Policy (Business Improvement District) was introduced by Wellington City Council in 2013 and is a way local businesses can pool funds to invest in projects and improvements that will support economic development in their respective centres. Currently Miramar & Khandallah have established BIDs and the other best known example in the Region is Petone’s Jackson Street.

Roger Tweedy a locally based community economic development specialist will act as ‘Project Coordinator” working closely with the businesses ‘on the street’ on a day to day basis. He will supported by specialist economic development company, the Business Lab, who will conduct the formal research and develop the business case for the potential BID. Colin Bass who will lead this aspect of the work was also engaged in developing the successful Enterprise Miramar BID.
“It has become very hard for business owners to assist promote the Village on top of their ‘day jobs’ and a more sustainable model must be found for Kilbirnie to reach its full potential says Kilbirnie Network chair Bruce Welsh”
Contacts
Geoff Kiddle, Unichem Pharmacy ph. 3879254 Project Champion – Chair of BID Steering Group
Roger Tweedy 0221088140
kilbirniebusinessgroup@gmail.com

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Great Website for small business

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beestings -
short, sharp and to the point
www.bizbuzz.co.nz
Full of useful hints and business ideas

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Review Meeting – Community Festival

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Looking for feedback on Festival and its future
Wednesday 18th March 5.30 pm at Bruce’s office – 2 Rongotai Rd upstairs. Wednesday

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Kilbirnie Festival 2015

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The new and improved Kilbirnie festival is being held on Sunday 1st March this year from 10.00 to 4.00.

This year the focus is on local people and sports.  Come and enjoy.

For details see http://www.kilbirniefestival.co.nz

 

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NEXT MEETING

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Our final get together for the year will be this Wednesday 19th 5.30 pm at Cartridge World in Kilbirnie Plaza.

This is a good networking opportunity before the busy Christmas season.

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Council Consulting on Legal Highs

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The Government plans to lift the temporary ban and make it legal for certain psychoactive products (“legal highs”) to be sold from mid-2015 if they pass new stricter health tests. Synthetic cannabis smokes are unlikely to pass and be legally sold.
Have your stay to WCC re Local Policy http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-inputs/consultations/open/psychoactive-substances

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NEXT NETWORK MEETING

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Wednesday 20th August 5.30 – 7pm

Cook Strait News office in Bay Plaza
Hosted by owner Les Whiteside

Topic – A Xmas Festival for Kilbirnie

Light refreshments provided. Meet your neighbours and look for opportunities.

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July Meeting 16th

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A Business Improvement District for Kilbirnie?

Have your say on this important opportunity
to improve the local business environment
and ask questions.

Poneke Rugby Clubrooms
Kilbirnie Cres
5.30 pm
Wednesday 16 July

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June Meeting Wednesday 18th

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Come along and hear Russell Freeman from Business Mentors NZ about their mentor programme as well as recent mentee Kelley Braddock from Head Start.
This months host
World’s Delights 5/23 Bay Rd

See you at 5.30

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