Blyth BIA approves 2022 budget
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) set its 2022 budget during its annual general meeting on March 10, with a number of projects set to take advantage of funds in reserves.
BIA Chair David Sparling, who was elected for another term during the meeting, explained that the $10,200 levy and $655 from expected associate memberships is already spoken for within the current budget.
The BIA is setting $1,200 aside for web hosting and internet costs, and an additional $1,140 aside for updates to the municipality’s website.
“One of the asks of North Huron [at a meeting between North Huron staff and the BIA] was that our agendas and minutes be posted online at our website,” Sparling said. “That’s never been the case before, but it makes sense.”
He explained that modification would be necessary for the website so that the minutes and agendas could be easily posted by members of the executive. He said technology projects always cost more than anticipated, but felt the $1,140 would be sufficient.
The BIA is anticipating spending $1,500 on signage projects, specifically focused on the G2G trail connectivity as well as, potentially, at the intersection of County Roads 25 and 4 after a significant construction project that will see traffic control lights erected at the intersection.
Sparling explained the BIA had eliminated education spending from the budget as the executive wasn’t sure that any education opportunities would come up with COVID-19 concerns still prevalent.
The $1,715 administration budget includes $1,000, or nearly 10 per cent of the BIA’s budget, for audit costs. Sparling said he wishes something could be done to mitigate that cost, given the limited amount of work involved with a budget of just over $10,000, however the BIA doesn’t get much say in the issue as it is set by the municipality’s accounting firm.
Other administration expenses include $80 for meeting expenses, $50 for office supplies, $90 for bank charges, $230 for a membership in the Huron Chamber of Commerce and $265 for the BIA’s membership in the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA).
The BIA will continue to support the Blyth Outdoor Market to the tune of $1,200, despite it not being a BIA event, Sparling said.
“It’s something we support for the good it does our main street,” he said.
In a similar situation, the BIA has set aside $1,600 in total to help with the Hometown Holiday Weekend celebration in December and the Blyth Rutabaga Festival, both of which are run by the Blyth Community Betterment Group, a non-governmental organization.
Finally, the budget includes $1,500 for new merchants’ welcome packages (three packages including advertising options at $500 each) and $1,000 for miscellaneous advertising costs.
The BIA will also make use of $7,294 in surplus, Sparling said, to prepare for a Chamber of Commerce downtown core project ($3,500) and putting money in a dedicated reserve for Christmas decorations, with Sparling noting that North Huron Public Works advised the BIA that the current decorations are “getting worn down”.
The chamber project, Sparling said, will look at enhancing Blyth’s main street, however the BIA didn’t have an exact dollar amount to participate, so the executive had decided to put aside $3,500.
In total, the budget includes $10,855 in revenue and $7,294 in reserves, totalling $18,149, all of which is earmarked for specific projects or for reserves for future projects.
Sparling explained that, in the past, the BIA had decided to get away from one-time increases to the budget and, subsequently, BIA dues paid by members, instead increasing the dues and budget by inflation every year, resulting in the above budget.
The BIA’s membership passed the budget.