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Levy warning letters to go out

TRADERS have just days to pay their levy to the Dartmouth Business Improvement District or face being taken to court.
Final letters are due to be issued this month to any businesses which have not yet paid their BID levy, advising them of the need to do so within seven days to avoid legal action.
‘We have no choice in pursuing this,’ said BID manager Francesca Johnson.
But businessman and town councillor Dave Cawley says he will not be swayed by the threat and intends to withhold his money.
‘I will not be paying, as only 18 per cent of Dartmouth businesses voted in favour and also I consider it to be unsolicited goods or services,’ he said. ‘A group of us will engage a top firm of solicitors from Exeter, anyone wanting to join us should email me at bid@time-step.com
‘The whole BID saga is a disgrace, starting with the issue of not asking 25 per cent of the businesses, not making it clear that you had to pay whatever, then the wrong amount being charged, followed by the royal [status] saga, then using photographs of Salcombe to promote Dartmouth, the awful Facebook page, the photographs taken by a Salcombe photographer, the ill-advised campaign on railway stations, and now the overspend on the Christmas lights.
‘I have never seen such an amateurish organisation in Dartmouth before. I and most businesses have no respect for BID at all and will not be paying, whatever.’
A review meeting held recently between South Hams Council, Dartmouth BID and Mosaic Agency revealed that £100,800 – about 60 per cent of funds invoiced – had been collected as of December 8, 2014.
Ms Johnson said: ‘A further monitoring meeting will take place in January and should legal action be required then any business requiring a court attendance will be held liable for these costs.
‘The BID team continue, therefore, to urge all traders to talk directly with any member of the board about queries they might have to avoid incurring any unnecessary additional expense or possible negative effect on their credit ratings.’
Meanwhile, the BID is planning budgets and strategies for 2015/16 and is keen for more individuals, businesses and groups to get involved.
‘We are pleased to be working in partnership with other Dartmouth groups such as the business forum, TIC, harbour office and town council to ensure the whole town is considered when addressing areas such as funding, regional information or parking and this joined up “town team” approach is enabling some strong representation for Dartmouth,’ added Ms Johnson.
‘We want to the team structure to evolve with other businesses coming on board and hope that such a positive collaboration will continue to develop over 2015.’
Ms Johnson said any BID company member was also entitled to stand as a director at this year’s elections in the spring.

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