He seeks permission to collect $50,000 a year from businesses in the district
Nanaimo’s Old Town Neighborhood Trade Association has won initial approval from City Hall to extend its life by five years and expand its boundaries and membership.
About 20 neighboring businesses have said they would like to join the marketing association, chairman Matthew Rosenthal said. If the boundaries of the association are expanded, it will bring the total number of members to 87.
The Old Town district, with its many old buildings and brightly painted facades, is full of restaurants, hair salons, boutiques, interior design stores and creative businesses, as well as homes and services professionals. “We’ve had a slew of exciting new businesses moving to the area,” Rosenthal said.
Every five years, the association comes to the town hall to extend its by-law allowing it to add a commercial property tax on its territory to carry out its mandate. He asks for authorization to collect $50,000 a year.
The city collects taxes on behalf of the organization, which markets and promotes the area and hosts events – such as a Halloween drive-in, summer jazz concerts and seasonal celebrations. He’s also teaming up with other bands and expects a soapbox derby as well as an expanded Fringe festival this year. Rosenthal is meeting with a representative from the nearby downtown Nanaimo business district on Monday to coordinate their efforts.
It is up to the owners of the additional businesses to vote on membership in the association. The City of Nanaimo will ask if they accept additional taxes that would go to the association. The base fee is $270 per site plus a percentage based on property value up to a maximum of $6,497 per year.
The council voted in favor of the bylaw, taking it to third reading this week. He also agreed to a process called a “petition against” requiring owners of at least 50% of parcels in the area, representing at least 50% of assessed land and improvements, to sign a petition to oppose the tax.
The application will come back to council after the results.
The “petition against” process is the most common provision used under the BC community charter to establish business improvement areas, staff told council.