The newly-formed Penicuik Business Improvement District has received financial support towards collecting a new business levy.
Midlothian Council has agreed to allocate up to £37,000 to cover the costs of the collection of the levy from local businesses.
The BIDs project, which operates as Penicuik First, received the go-ahead in May this year following a favourable vote from town centre businesses.
A total of 39 valid ballot papers were received of which 30 were in favour of a BID.
BIDs projects are developed, managed and paid for through a compulsory BID levy.
The vote meants that in terms of aggregate rateable value £346,200 were in favour with £85,100 against.
At a recent full council meeting, community and economy director Mary Smith explained that since local governmetn reorganisation in 1996, the City of Edinburgh Council has collected non-domestic rates on behalf of Midlothian Council.
“There are operational and practical reasons of requesting that the arrangemenrs for collection of the Business Improvement District Levy be undertaken by City of Edinburgh Council,” she said. “This would require an extension to the current service level agreement between the two councils, and would necessarily incur costs.” It is estimated that it will cost up to £37,000 to recover the costs of the five year lifespan of a BIDs project.
“We don’t think that it would be reasonable to expect the businesses who are being asked to pay the levy to also pick up the collection costs,” said Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for economic development, councillor Jim Bryant. “This is an exciting, business-led opportunity to regenerate Penicuik town centre, and the council is keen to give it the support it needs to help make it a success.”