The City of Humboldt will no longer match funds raised by the downtown Business Improvement District (BID) levy, instead using the money to invest into the city’s economic development efforts.
Established through a bylaw in 2012, the Humboldt BID represents downtown properties and works to enhance the retail traffic in the area.
In the bylaw which allowed its formation, the City of Humboldt authorized the BID to apply a levy against the properties within its district and the city shall agree to match the annual levy to a maximum of $40,000.
“There were funding programs from the province that a Business Improvement District would be eligible for if they had some full-time staff employed,” said Joe Day, Humboldt’s city manager.
“Given the size of the community we are, in order to support full-time staff employed it required more than they felt comfortable raising from its members, so the city did chip in a good amount in order for full-time staff to be employed.”
This has typically come to about $24,000 annually for the past number of years.
In research conducted by the city and presented to Humboldt council, out of nine municipalities surveyed in Saskatchewan, none of them invested in their Business Improvement Districts through “this formula, and to this extent.”
“Those programs ended a few years later, but the provision in the bylaw never got amended.”
As a result, council voted at their May 25 meeting to remove the clause that obligates the city to match the BID levy. For the 2021 budget, $22,000 of the $24,000 matching levy will be utilized by the city’s economic development area, with $2,000 remaining for the BID as a grant.
Day said that while the BID’s scope is exclusively the downtown area, the city’s economic development activity will include all areas of the city including the downtown.
“We could probably with the same amount of dollars do promotion for all areas and activities of the city, as opposed to simply the downtown area,” he said. “If the BID becomes more active and is in need of generating more revenue for some promotion we would entertain that again.”
Jamie Richardson, the BID’s president, said in a statement that the group appreciates continued support of the city.
“It has allowed us to continue to work for and with our downtown business community, a good example of this is our latest promotion Spring is Cooking with the BID which has proven to be a very positive endeavor for the businesses and the BID itself,” Richardson said.
“We’re looking forward to more upgrades for the downtown area and a future with the cooperation of leisure services and economic development. We’ve had a great number of positive comments done on the work last year and the imaging that was done to make downtown unique.”
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal