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The Creemore BIA has shown support for a levy increase and has endorsed the board’s 2023 budget, which will be forwarded to Clearview council for consideration and final approval.

The majority of the 24 building owner and tenants within the Business Improvement Area (BIA) in attendance at the Nov. 22 (annual general meeting) AGM supported a $5,000 increase to the levy, bring it to $25,000. The levy is collected from property owners within the designated area along the commercial corridor of Mill Street and a portion of Caroline Street West to promote businesses and enhance beatification.

At the meeting, BIA president Laurie Severn outlined the BIA’s activity in 2022 and treasurer Sara Hershoff presented the financial reports and the proposed 2023 budget.

“We believe it is of great value, that we do more collectively than we do as individuals,” said Hershoff. “This is our gift to the next board, so they don’t have to scramble as much.”

Members also approved setting a minimum levy of $250 and increasing the maximum levy from $2,000 to $2,500. The allocating is divvied up between all properties based on their MPAC assessments.

With additional income from events like the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, grants, sponsorship, and donations, the BIA had an income of just under $57,000 in 2022, with funds going towards events, marketing, beautification, and administration.

Paul Vorstermans pointed out that $6,000 is budgeted to manage garbage in 2023. He suggested that the BIA get out of the business of waste management, street sweeping, sidewalk weeding, and tree pruning, which he considers to be basic municipal services.

“It’s time to put our foot down,” said Vorstermans. “It is not a matter of discussion.”

Members of the executive committee are recommending to the new board, to be elected in the New Year, that it draft a service agreement to be presented to the municipality that clearly sets out who is responsible for what, and that if the BIA expects a higher level of service on their schedule, that the BIA be willing to contribute financially.

The municipality did create a bit of a windfall for the BIA by purchasing self watering planters that adorn the downtown in the summer. The BIA said it had been saving to buy new planters, and as a result now has almost $80,000 that could be used for a capital project.

The BIA’s current term has come to an end and an election will be held for the next board of directors by secret ballot on Feb. 21. Nominations open on Jan. 30, BIA members will be able to nominate themselves or another member. Information will be circulated to members in the near future.

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