The Lindsay Downtown Business Improvement Association, representing approximately 150 businesses, made a presentation to Kawartha Lakes council asking for an additional $10,000 in funding for 2021.
The organization is responsible for advocacy, beautification, improvement and maintenance of the downtown area. They also coordinate marketing and special events to promote and improve the economic prosperity of the downtown.
Executive director Melissa McFarland and vice-chair Steve Podolsky presented a budget to council recently requesting the downtown business tax levy be frozen for 2021.
This levy generates the lion’s share of the BIA’s income, raising $143,500. The presenters said that between the impact COVID-19 and the downtown reconstruction project are having on small businesses, they do not want to place any additional burden on property owners with an increased tax levy.
They also requested that the current grant they receive from the CKL Community Partnership and Development Fund be increased from $35,000 to $45,000 and the CKL subsidy that pays for the downtown community liaison worker be extended until at least the downtown parking study has been completed. That position requires a $30,000 transfer from city hall.
If approved, the additional $10,000 will be spent on new planters and banners for the light posts currently being installed on Kent Street and Lindsay Street South.
The old banners, put up to celebrate events like Christmas, do not fit the new light standards which are being erected as part of the downtown reconstruction project.
The BIA will also extend the placement of banners and flowers on the new lamp posts being installed on Lindsay Street South, which is out of the BIA area, for the sake of consistency.
Podolsky presented a very optimistic report on behalf of downtown merchants to council. The vice-chair said the on-going construction is “short term pain for long term gain. When the construction is done the customers will come back. I also want to thank the city for its shop local program.”
Councillor Ron Ashmore asked the BIA representatives if they have noticed an improvement in snow removal since the city had changed their policies in the fall.
“There has been an improvement in snow removal,” McFarland said, “and we continue to have an excellent relationship with public works.”