Orangeville BIA increases levy to members

February 29, 2024   ·   0 Comments


The Orangeville BIA anticipates a break-even year.

Mike Beattie, Orangeville BIA chairperson, told town council on Feb. 26 that the group’s 2024 revenue is expected to be $561,500 with total operating costs of $561,500.

While that will leave the business group flush, those figures mark a 6.3 per cent increase over the 2023 tally. That requires a 4.5 per cent levy increase for members.

“We need to make up some of the shortfall or we will continue to fall further behind,” he said.

Beattie said the group adheres to five strategic pillars to keep members focused on priorities. Management decisions are made with those pillars in mind and the budget is aligned with those priorities.

Those five pillars are organizational effectiveness, stakeholder alignment, beautified space, member engagement, and customer attraction.

“Each pillar is unique, yet they are also connected,” Beattie said.

Operating costs and general operating activities account for up to 10 per cent of the group’s annual budget.

Beattie said there’s little expectation of much change in organizational effectiveness this year except for the reallocation of staff time toward attracting customers.

Stakeholder alignment refers to the work done in partnership with other local organizations and municipal departments. Beattie said that cooperation enables the OBIA to accomplish more.

“Contributing to other organizations helps local groups to produce quality programming and it also allows us to leverage their events to attract more visitors,” he said.

“Stakeholder alignment helps to stretch our dollars to make the unattainable attainable.”

Orangeville’s downtown core has the heritage structures and infrastructure that are the bones that make beautifying the space easier. Beattie offered a bouquet to the town’s Public Works and Parks departments.

Those departments’ staff are responsible for such attractions as the annual Christmas tree and other streetscape beautification efforts. That accounts for about 18 per cent of the BIA’s annual budget.

He said some of the focus on engaging members is encouraging longer business hours into evenings and Sunday shopping.

“Customer attraction is the most labour intensive and resource-heavy pillar and accounts for a whopping average of 59 per cent of our annual budget,” Beattie said. “Attracting people to the downtown area is fundamental to the BIA’s mandate.”

Inflation impacted their organization’s costs in some areas, especially in customer attraction. The BIA economized in other areas to compensate for money lost to inflation.

As a result, he said, the group ended last year with a $10,000 surplus. That economization, certain grants, and money from public participation at events allowed them to stay away from reserve funds last year.

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