Special Charge – Queens Parade
Council is proposing to discontinue the Queens Parade Special Charge Scheme due to a lack of support for the scheme from local business operators.
A Special Charge is an annual fee payable by businesses in a designated area for the encouragement of commerce and retail activity through activities including research, developing business plans, marketing, advertising and promotion.
Council sought feedback from the community about the proposed discontinuance in May and June 2012.
If Council decides to discontinue the Scheme, it will notify the affected business operators of its decision, and the Special Charge levy notices previously sent to ratepayers will be withdrawn.
Once the Scheme is formally discontinued, Council will refund any payments that have already been made.
For more information, contact Kim Swinson, Coordinator – Economic Development, on 9205 5303 or at Kim.Swinson@yarracity.vic.gov.au
In February 2011, Council resolved to declare a Special Charge Scheme for the Queens Parade precinct in Clifton Hill and North Fitzroy.
The Queens Parade Traders' Association requested the introduction of the Special Charge.
Council sought feedback about the proposed levy from local businesses and/or property owners in late 2010. Council considered the submissions received at its 15 February 2011 Council meeting, and decided at that meeting to introduce the Special Charge.
Some property owners/tenants lodged an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against Council's decision to introduce the Special Charge.
The matter had been scheduled to be heard by VCAT in early 2012. The proceedings have been adjourned, pending Council making a final decision in relation to the discontinuance of the Special Charge. If the decision is made by Council to discontinue, VCAT will be informed of this decision and steps will then be taken to discontinue the proceedings.
What the Special Charge proposed
For the first year of the Scheme, about $70,000 was expected to be raised and spent to promote businesses within the Queens Parade Precinct. This amount would have increased by 4% each following year.
The Special Charge would have funded a part-time marketing coordinator for the Queens Parade precinct and an integrated marketing and promotion program including:
- Media advertising
- Development and distribution of a Business Directory
- Special promotional events/weekend markets
- An annual festival
- Other related activities that encourage commerce and retail activity and which are identified in the annual Queens Parade Traders Association Strategic Business Plan 2010-2015 (April 2010).
The amount that was proposed to be charged per business
- $600 per annum for properties situated at ground level street frontage between 89–197 and 274–410 Queens Parade, excluding rear 316–318 Queens Parade, 390a and 390b Queens Parade
- $300 per annum for properties situated other than at ground level street frontage between 89–197 and 274–410 Queens Parade and 1a Michael Street, excluding rear 316–318 Queens Parade, 390a and 390b Queens Parade
- $400 per annum for properties situated at ground level street frontage between 1–87, 199–271, 162–270 and 416–492 Queens Parade, and
- $200 per annum for properties situated other than at ground level street frontage between 1–87, 199– 271, 162–270 and 416–492 Queens Parade.
In addition Council would have supplemented the Queens Parade Special Charge Scheme to the value of $12,800 annually plus 4% CPI for the duration of the Special Charge Scheme, commencing in its second year of operation.
The owner of the property would have been primarily liable to pay the Special Charge. However, some landlords have leasing arrangements which would have allowed the charge to be passed on to the tenant (for example, if the tenant is responsible for all outgoings). The decision about who would ultimately be liable is a matter between the landlord and the tenant under the terms of any lease arrangements.
The funds would have been collected by Council and allocated on a quarterly basis to the Queens Parade Traders Association Inc. Council would have required the Queens Parade Traders Association Inc. to have a high level of financial and management accountability of the funds. This would have included requirements such as the submission of an annual plan at the beginning of each year and an audited financial report at the conclusion of each year.
Additionally, the Association would have been required to enter into an agreement with Council which confirmed that the Association was at all times acting in accordance with the requirements and purpose of the Special Charge scheme, including expenditure of those funds.
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Coordinator - Economic Development