Representatives of 5,000 Edmonton companies in the city's business improvement areas (BIA) are setting 2022 budgets and looking for city council's help to recover from the continuing impact of COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar operations.
The 13 BIAs have a mandate to support the vibrancy, economic health, and appeal of key commercial areas. The largest, the Downtown Business Association, (DBA) has a proposed 2022 budget of $1.5 million, while the smallest, the Fort Road Business and Community Association is working with a budget of $103,000.
The downtown association is looking to raise the tax levy on area businesses to 2020 levels, a 27% increase from 2021 to $1.3 million in revenue. The association's budget aims to restore pre-pandemic activity levels and revive "a vibrant, bustling economic centre of Edmonton where workers and the public alike want to be."
Among the key actions among the DBA's priorities for the coming year is a review of expanding its boundaries to encompass Rossdale and the Government Centre/Oliver areas, a move that would grow its territory to meet the current boundary of the 124th Street and Area Business Association.
The Old Strathcona Business Association, the second-highest funded BIA with a proposed 2022 budget of $572,000, is holding the line on its levy for a second year but will tap into savings and grants to spend an additional $47,000 over 2021.