What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists and new businesses. By working collectively as a BIA, local businesses have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in their local neighbourhood and the City as whole.
How does a BIA work?
A BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Management elected from its members. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting and, once approved by City Council, serves a four-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its BIA and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area.
How is a BIA Funded?
Every business member is charged a portion of the annual budget, based on that member's share of the BIA's total commercial realty assessment. How does it work - Each year the board, along with member input, prepares annual budget estimates that must be submitted to municipal council for approval. Once the budget is approved by municipal council, the council adds a special levy to the property tax paid by every owner of property designated (member) as industrial or commercial within the boundaries of the BIA. For each property, the amount of the levy will be related to its realty assessment. The exact amount of the BIA levy is determined by dividing the property's realty assessment by the total realty assessment in the BIA and multiplying by the total BIA annual budget.