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Dorchester Business Improvement District frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions:

Dorchester Business Improvement District Annual Report 2018

View the Dorchester Business Improvement District Annual Report 2018.

How can I pay my BID bill?

The bill is due in one instalment and should be made to West Dorset District Council (not the BID direct) using one of our payment methods.

What is the BID for?

BID stands for Business Improvement District (BID). It does not replace the statutory activities or services carried out by the council, police or other public agencies. It is an arrangement under which local businesses improve their own trading environment and agree via a BID operating company how the levy should be spent on a range of projects to boost the town centre, trading environment and increase footfall. 

Who runs the BID?

The Dorchester BID is operated by Dorchester BID Limited, a wholly independent, non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. It has a board of directors made up of 12 members elected from all business sectors. 

What do I pay my business rates for?

Business rates are a statutory local tax levied to provide generic services by the local authority. The BID levy will pay for specific services and functions which may be on top of services that local councils provide. These additional services are decided by the Dorchester BID Board in consultation with all businesses in the BID footprint area (see below) to increase footfall and consumer spend within the BID area. 

What is the BID area?

The BID area is defined in the BID business plan.

Are all business properties included in the BID levy?

Yes all businesses in the BID area with a rateable value of £3000 and above will receive a BID bill, apart from a small number of exempt properties (including non-retail charities) which will not pay a levy. See the  Dorchester BID business plan.

The BID levy is set at a rate of 1.0% of your rateable value for a business with rateable value of £3000 or more. If you own two or more properties in the BID area, you will receive two separate BID bills.

Your annual BID bill will show the rate at which your BID levy is calculated.

Why is West Dorset District Council collecting the BID levy?

BID legislation requires local authorities to be the billing body. In addition, the council already has systems and procedures in place to collect income such as the BID levy.

What happens to the BID levy when it is collected by the council?

All money collected by the council is paid directly to the BID operating company (Dorchester BID Limited) to deliver projects and initiatives in the BID area.

What happens if I don't agree with the BID Levy?

A ballot was carried out in June 2018 and all businesses in the BID area were given the opportunity to vote for or against the BID levy. The result of the ballot was a 'yes' vote, therefore all businesses liable for the levy are required to pay. View the ballot results.

What happens if I refuse to pay?

It is hoped that all businesses will see the benefits of contributing to the BID. In the event of non-payment, on behalf of the BID operating company (Weymouth BID Limited), the council will recover any sums due in line with normal recovery processes. This may mean that defaulters receive a final notice and may face ultimately court proceedings. However, the council will liaise with the Weymouth BID to discuss such cases and the Dorchester BID will encourage payment for the benefit of all.

Can I pay by instalments?

You will receive a separate annual bill for your BID account and the terms of these are payment in full during August. The Dorchester BID business plan makes no allowance to accept payments by instalments.

Why is the levy not collected with rates?

Business Rates and the BID levy are completely separate. The council must collect business rates in line with statutory provisions which are different from the legal provisions surrounding a BID levy.

Can I make alternative arrangements to pay?

No. the Dorchester BID Business Plan requires a single annual payment of the BID levy. The council is not in a position to vary these payment requirements. If you experience difficulty in paying the BID levy, you should contact Dorchester BID.

When will I start to see the benefits of the BID levy?

The BID Company developed a BID Business Plan as part of the ballot process. This is what businesses voted in favour of when they took part in the BID ballot. This is now being driven forward by the Dorchester BID Board - read the  BID business plan to see what projects and initiatives the BID are delivering.

Who should I contact if I want to discuss the BID in more detail?

The Dorchester BID Manager, and members of the board, will be happy to discuss the aims of the BID and to hear any questions or concerns you may have. Please contact the Dorchester BID Office.

How long does the BID last?

The current Dorchester BID term operates for five years. It started on 1 August 2018 and will end on 31 July 2023.

Will I pay the same amount every year?

The levy is based on the rateable value of the property at 1 August each year. The levy will change if the rateable value of the property also changes.

What happens if my rateable value reduces because of an appeal I have made?

Reductions on rateable value will be taken into full consideration when calculating the levy for current and future years. However, reductions or increases in rateable value will only apply from 1 August following the amendment.

What happens if I move my business out of the BID area or stop trading?

If you vacate your property after 1 August, then as stated in the Dorchester BID business plan you will be required to pay the BID levy in full for the year.

What happens if my property is empty/vacant?

Dorchester BID business plan does not require payment of the levy for unoccupied properties.

Contact Dorchester BID

Find out more on the Dorchester BID website.

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