What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of local businesses and commercial property owners within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive, and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. By working collectively as a BIA, local business have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in their local neighborhood and the City as a whole.
How does a BIA work?
A BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Management elected from its members. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting and, once approved by City Council, serves a three-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its BIA and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area. The City Councillor(s) of the Ward(s) in which the BIA is located also serves ex officio as a member of the Board.
Each year the Board proposes a program of activities and a budget to cover estimated expenses, which is voted on by all the BIA members present at their Annual General Meeting.
How is a BIA funded?
Once the budget is approved by the BIA members and ratified by City Council, funds are raised through a levy on all commercial and industrial properties within the BIA's boundary. Calculation of this levy is based on the proportionate value of each property's commercial and/or industrial assessment. Once the levy is collected by the City, the funds are returned to the BIA to manage.
For more information:
City of Toronto: www.toronto.ca/bia/index.htm
Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA): www.toronto-bio.com