Board of Director’s Meeting – Minutes
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Location: online 6:30 p.m.
Attendees: David O’Connell (DO), Colin Best (CB), Joe Taglieri (JT), Kristina Tesser Derksen (KTD), Miguel Gonsalves (MG), Margaret Lara (ML), Eric Chabot (EC), Rachel Shuttleworth (RS)
Regrets: Sara Bergsma (SB), Troy Newton (TN)
EC called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm.
EC asked the committee if there was any declaration of pecuniary interest or conflict of interest. No declarations were made.
EC asked the group to review the previous meeting minutes.
- CB motioned to accept. JT seconded the motion. Motion passed
Treasurer’s Report – MG
- Ending the year on a good note.
- Sony donation towards the banners as a legacy project came through.
- $18k in revenue from Digital Service Squad grant received.
- Monthly expenses trended as normal, most were operational costs.
- Expecting net expenses of $19k for month of December (takes into account $4k outstanding from CSJ and $6k from Milton Economic Development).
- Projected surplus is around $36k (up from the $23k we anticipated as of last month – largely due to Sony donation).
- CB moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Passed the budget unanimously on Monday night. Local portion of tax increase is 3.93% (works out to $14.16 per $100k of assessed property value annually).
- Town of Milton joined on to Partners for Climate Protection – a targeted national network of municipalities. TOM will now establish emissions targets and other goals for environmental protection and sustainability.
- Staff report coming forward on 14th with respect to MEV. In there, staff requesting a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to expedite the project. Province taking heat recently related to MZOs.
- 8% percent tax increase for the Region.
- Public consultations in January and February for the Regional Official Plan.
- Implementing more rural internet, hopefully it will have a positive impact for small business.
- Vaccine – we may not see full implementation of vaccines until September. COVID-19 numbers currently going down in Halton Region, but going up in the Province.
- KTD – Any information from the Region on how the vaccine role out will go?
- CB – Not much info at the Region right now. But in meeting with large city mayors, General Hillier indicated it will go to seniors, LTC staff and front-line workers first, and everyone else later. Halton.ca is a good place to get updates.
- EC – MZO applies to us because we aren’t in the greenbelt. Would need to appeal to a Minister and they can then decide whether or not to supersede the zoning rules?
- CB – MZO circumvents the usual process of appealing to LPAT and various other agencies. There is an additional allocation Town could reserve for it. A bit controversial because it circumvents the usual planning process.
- EC – More controversial in greenfield development, not so much in brownfield areas like ours.
- KTD – Can override the municipal process, and the involvement of other agencies. Makes sense for MEV. Province has clear guidelines on when they can be used, and favours instances with an economic development focus.
- CB – Heard from AMO that Provincial Floodplain Advisory Board advising not to do anything in the floodplain.
- JT moved to accept the Council Reports. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Executive Director’s Report
- Recommending an update to the purchasing policy to increase the threshold for going to RFP/RFQ or bidding from $10,000 to $25,000. Town updated their policy in 2018 for this.
- From the DMBIA Purchasing Policy (page 1):
Where the requirement for goods, services or construction can be specified and it is estimated that the total annual value is less than $10,000 (change to $25,000), including taxes and freight, and not included in any existing contract and/or blanket order, the good/service shall be acquired directly by the end user.
Request for Quotation/Proposal
Where it is estimated that the total cost of the goods or services, inclusive of delivery charges and tax will cost more than $10,000 (change to $25,000), but less than $50,000 the DMBIA Executive Director, in consultation with the Board, shall issue a Request for Proposal/Quotation.
- Any expense over $25k we would go to tender, anything below that could go through the regular approval process of the board.
- MG/JT – Board discussed this change previously, but no motion was made to change the policy.
- Landscaping/flowers work is our only expense that this would apply to at this point. All our other expenses are below the threshold.
- CB moved to accept the minimum threshold from $10,000 to $25,000. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Discussion – Landscaping, beautification
- KTD – Recommendation is to ensure Spice o’ Life Parkette has plants in it.
- RS – Ivy Arms and Spice of Life Parkette were in the contract in the past, but will ensure that continues. Flower Shed has talked about doing some raised planters in certain areas or planting pots directly into the ground in places that don’t grow well. Will try to continue to do small flower installations in a couple areas off Main Street.
- EC – Explore doing some perennials in beds to help reduce costs over time.
- JT – Asked about raised beds in some places. Extra seating on Main Street would be helpful and should figure out if there would be a cost savings over replacing damaged receptacle outlets.
- RS – Raised planters didn’t fit into context of Digital Main Street’s Future Proof Community Collaboration funding so we didn’t pursue it beyond that. Reached out to Town engineering department and they mentioned the issue of raised beds being destroyed by plows in the past. Would need to budget for annual repairs on those.
- DO – Could do a few raised flower boxes to try it out.
- JT – Should look 10 years down the line, electric cars will be the norm. We should explore electric charging stations for these vehicles. Could charge people for charging their cars and this becomes a revenue opportunity. Should start looking at possible partners. Would position us as progressive.
- EC/DO – Examples of charging stations in Sauble, Burlington. Could explore partnership with Tesla.
Filming in Downtown Milton
- Filming took place in Downtown Milton from November 16-21.
- Extensive media coverage, lots of interest/discussions on social media
- Some BIA businesses were happy with the experience, others were not happy. Most common complaints are loss of business and disruptions of daily business operations. We have sent a survey out to all members to collect their feedback on the experience and solicit suggestions.
- Sony provided financial compensation to business owners within the filming area or directly impacted.
- Some repairs were needed for items damaged during the filming, Site Manager working closely with individual business/property owners.
- Received sample guidelines from other BIAs and municipalities that they use to help manage filming projects. Have reached out to the Town to discuss some guidelines for Milton (Town staff working on something as well).
Digital Main Street: Digital Service Squad update
- Our two squad members (Rachael and Shahrez) are doing a fantastic job working with businesses, helping to uncover and address some real challenges these businesses are facing.
- Had initial meetings with 64 businesses, and had around 15 businesses that have said they don’t want to participate. (Both count towards goal of engaging 72 businesses, so we have achieved that goal.) Around 220+ businesses contacted to date.
- Approximately 40 businesses submitted applications for the grant and a dozen more are working on there. Hoping most businesses will get the grant.
- Some of the most common areas we have found that these businesses want to focus on:
- Creating/enhancing their websites
- Improving their social media
- Story-telling and video
- Purchase of hardware for use in marketing, operations
- Implementing POS systems
- Selling online (ecommerce), finding cheaper/easier ways to ship
- Digital advertising – google, social media, etc.
- We have started looking at group discounts for shipping – several of our businesses have expressed interest in this. Had initial conversations with Purolator. Also planning to look at Fed Ex, UPS, Canpar
- EC – Could explore having the businesses pay $150 for an annual membership to the CSGA and then be use their discount shipping rates (around 75% off) in Canpar. With Canpar, businesses can schedule a pick-up once in the day, and packages get picked up directly from the store.
- RS – Several businesses are delivering their orders themselves right now, and it’s time-consuming.
- DMS is helping build relationships with members and connecting us with some we have not been involved with before, as well as some businesses just outside our borders.
- Got confirmation from OBIAA that businesses just outside the BIA (zoned secondary commercial) are eligible for the grant, so we have started reaching out to some.
- Grant application deadline next week, then squad is off for two weeks over the holidays.
- For January, the squad will be helping businesses with the implementation of their Digital Transformation Plans, improve their Google My Business profiles (including adding 360 photos), one-on-one consulting. Squad in place until end of January/mid-February.
Discover Downtown Milton Guide
- Holiday edition released and it’s a really nice marketing piece for our members and our community.
- Kudos to Mira for making that happen, she worked hard on it. These guides were originally Cheryl’s idea and they are always well-received. Mira stepped up to do the photography after Ann left. Cheryl support with some of the editing. Mira did the updates to the design and pulled it all together.
- Will be receiving about 200 boxes of Ferrero Gallery chocolates. If the delivery arrives before the holidays, we will put on Santa hats and deliver them to any open businesses. Ferrero planned to use the chocolates for events but those didn’t happen so they made them available to BIAs through OBIAA.
Social media/Photography Contracting
- KTD – What happened with the social media/photography contract we had in place.
- RS – Ann had been with the BIA for at least six years, and most of our photography is from her. Last May (maybe), we started moving away from using her for social media as it was more efficient to do this work in the office. She was unhappy about the change. I let her know that social media is not going back to her and we wanted to continue to work with her for photography only. She wants to do social media so she decided to leave.
- This opens up more opportunities to use those dollars for a third person in the office – would be good to have someone that brings skills around social media, graphic design, etc. to be able to support and enhance our digital marketing, as well as administration.
- DO – There are lots of photographers that we can use for events, and could consider getting a good camera for the office so we can do this as well. Originally Ann was supposed to be developing the posts herself, but there were some quality issues and it required a lot of rewriting and editing, so it became more efficient for the office just to develop the content and post directly. Ann’s heart is in the right place. We want to ensure the story remains positive – and we value all the contributions that Ann made to the BIA.
- KTD moved to accept ED Report, DO seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- KTD – If vaccines are rolled out by next holiday season, that might be our next large event. We would need to start planning early enough and ensure there is money in the budget to do something. There have been lots of models in terms of how we organize events – ourselves, event planning companies.
- EC – Likely we would start planning in the summertime for a holiday event. Probably best to organize the event ourselves so we have control over it. The addition of a third person in the office will help with this project and many other projects.
- RS – Charles Gibbs was interested in the board but he is now teaching evening courses so he is no longer available. But would be interested in committee work if the opportunity comes up.
- RS – Had conversations with a community member that is interested in getting involved in beautification in Downtown Milton. She is interested in helping with flowers, beautification. We also talked about doing a clean-up day in the spring. She likes to organize things and wants to be working towards a larger goal.
- KTD – Talk to groups like Sustainable Milton, Fridays for Future. They do pop-up clean-ups. Good Neighbours Day is usually in April. Could reach out and see if they are interested in doing a clean-up day in Downtown Milton. In exchange it would highlight their cause and their group. Could work in planting native species, a pollinator garden, etc.
- DO moved to adjourn. KTD seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned at 7:46 pm.