NS: Development commission concerned town initiatives will suffer as BID tax axed

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BID Tax used to generate $80,000 per year

[NEW GLASGOW, NS] – The New Glasgow Development Commission will have to come up with new funding models now that the town has done away with the business development tax.

New Glasgow council recommended during a committee of the whole meeting that it abolish the tax after the majority of property owners in the downtown area voted in favour of getting rid of it.

The town conducted a vote through registered mail on the tax and the vote was 52.2 per cent against it and 47.8 per cent in favour. The tax generated about $80,000 last year for the commission, which supports business development and marketing in the downtown.

However, council says it has heard many complaints over the years from business owners and landlords who say the money is not being used properly or they're not seeing any benefit from paying the tax.

Mark Firth, president of the New Glasgow Development Commission, asked council to reconsider its decision, saying that the commission will have a difficult time operating without the funding.

He says the commission has played a vital role in contributing to the town's façade project as well as the establishment of the farmers market.

"It is going to be very disappointing if our organization doesn't exist," he says. "We sponsor events in this town and we are extremely concerned that council doesn't understand how many events we supply."

Firth says the commission is currently working through a five-year plan and the loss of the BID funding will have an impact on its goals.

"Don't eliminate the BID tax," he says. "We must continue to keep on track."

Local downtown business owner Tom Brady says he wasn't in favour of the tax because he hasn't seen it benefit his businesses. He says he has sat on the commission's board and believes it needs to be managed better in the future in order to become successful.

"I took in a copy of the bylaws and no one has ever seen them before," he says. "This is how they conduct a meeting. No bylaws are followed and money is spent before it is approved."

The Town of New Glasgow says it is willing to work with the commission to come up with new funding models that will help cover the loss of the business development tax.

Some councillors say they would rather see a voluntary contribution by members rather than a mandatory tax.

Organizations: New Glasgow Development Commission, New Glasgow council

Geographic location: New Glasgow

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