The greatest partnership a new or existing BIA can have is between its Board and their civic government.
You can’t have a BIA without the solid support of Mayor & Councillors, city managers, economic development officers and financial directors. Even your town’s parks and operations departments need to be advocates of your BIA and in step with the goals of the group, because these are the people whom your BIA will be working with on a regular basis to help achieve overall community successes.
The cornerstone for every BIA relationship with its local government is mutual respect. BIAs respect Mayor and Council for its assistance in the formal governance process that continues to allow a BIA to exist, and City Hall respects the free-enterprise methods the BIA uses to enhance and enrich the community over which it governs.
The best BIA relationships are those where the municipal government creates the legal framework for a business improvement association to exist, and the BIA uses its best judgement to maintain this important, independent responsibility. Both should offer respect for each other’s processes, and also recognize where boundaries lie.
Where BIA and governmental relationships can often break down is when one party oversteps its boundaries, overstates its jurisdiction or misunderstands provincial legislation.
Challenges abound when new practices are introduced into old structures. In the business world, decisions can sometimes be made very quickly to capitalize on opportunities at hand, whereas in the civic arena, decisions come at a much more measured pace. BIAs are nearly 25 years old, which is still a very youthful movement. Government law and civic constitutions were drawn up well before BIAs were ever conceived. Being open and able for both community proponents to work together, to trust each other, to be generous in effort and be mindful of time with each other are the makings of a solid long-term partnership.
Respect and understanding of the ground rules, the roles and duties between a BIA and its local government is best solidified at the commencement of a mandate, rather than when misunderstanding arises. Staying aware of our collective responsibilities and how we can complement each other’s annual goals make for a solid place an entire community of benefit can be built.
BIABC has been a respected, successful and open-minded mediator and information aggregator in the ongoing relationship between local BIAs and legislative architects. We are always pleased to offer insight and best practices to civic councils and their staff, to member associations and to the provincial government that allow all parties the best access to popular knowledge and Society Act scenarios.
It is in everyone’s best interest to maintain the positive trajectory of your local BIA movement through passion, understanding and respect. We can help.
Please feel free to contact us at 888-865-6580 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can best help your community.