Simcoe BIA elects new board of directors

The campaign is over, the ballots have been counted, and the Simcoe BIA is ready to welcome a new board of directors.According to a memo circulated at Norfolk council Tuesday, seven candidates for eight positions were successful in last week’s balloting. They are, in order of most votes received:Cam Carter, the third-generation owner of Carter’s Men’s and Ladies’ Wear on Norfolk Street South. Jess Bommarito, winner of the Norfolk planning department’s “Win This Space” contest for free use of a downtown storefront at the corner of Peel Street and Norfolk Street South. Bommarito’s business is called Groundswell Co-working. David Lopes, a pharmacist at Roulstons on Norfolk Street South. Suzanne Earls, artist and owner of the Pieceful Arts store on Robinson Street. Brian Jones, downtown patron and a resident of the BIA zone for nearly 20 years. Joe Botscheller, a tax specialist with Tax2000 in Simcoe, Woodstock and Tillsonburg since 1993 and a partner in the Magic Piper children’s wear store on Norfolk Street North since 1986. Tiffany Niece, owner of the Sloth and Molasses gift shop/artisan outlet on Norfolk Street South. Niece and Botscheller tied in the vote count, which wasn’t released.Norfolk council went in-camera Tuesday to consider the report from county clerk Andy Grozelle. When it did so, it had to consider a tie for the eighth and final position on the board between former downtown merchant Les Anderson and convenience store clerk Dustin Wakeford.In his recommendation to council, Grozelle suggested letting the new board decide which of the two should fill the position. Instead, council decided that both made the cut and the BIA’s nine-member board was approved.Carter and Earls were brought together for a photo Wednesday.Carter said he intends to contact outgoing BIA chair Jim Carroll as soon as possible to convene a meeting and get the transition underway to the new leadership.The Simcoe BIA is an arms-length subcommittee of Norfolk council. Council took the extraordinary step of calling an election last month after some BIA stakeholders expressed dissatisfaction with the former appointment process.Some suggested the BIA – which is responsible for promoting and beautifying the core – had become inward looking and was no longer responsive to the wishes of the membership. There were concerns the BIA was losing credibility and might fold. Council called the election as a means of refreshing the BIA’s mandate.The Simcoe BIA is funded by a special levy on properties in the BIA zone. The BIA budget this year is in the range of $200,000. Property owners, employees, merchants and other stakeholders within the BIA boundaries took part in last week’s balloting.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com