Two petitions circulating among local businesses have the Downtown Business Association unsure of its future.
Karen Burns, Smiths Falls DBA board member, shared the news about the two petitions with town council last week. One calls for the DBA to not request a levy increase while the second requests a vote for the DBA to disband.
“Those petitions and the actions, or lack of actions of our membership has caused two board members to resign,” said Burns, adding that other resignations leaves the DBA without enough members to keep the board going.
Burns told council that she had not been contacted by any business owners about concerns over the budget or levy increase.
However, she said she has reached out to a number of business owners. Some refused to speak but others said they opposed levy increase.
The request for the increase was set for presentation to council but the DBA board decided not to go forward with the levy increase at this time, said Burns.
Burns said the fourth DBA co-ordinator left in November so the DBA decided to make the position in full-time to attract a better pool of candidates.
The decision to hire a full time co-ordinator would have a “significant” impact on the DBA budget, she said.
“I certainly do not support the disbanding of the DBA,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow, “I’m distraught that two members have chosen to resign over this. That’s extremely disappointing. I think we would love to see them stay on and DBA continue to function as it has.”
However, he cautioned them to do more investigating on what the membership is seeking.
He added that not every business benefits from the DBA but the spending benefits the downtown as a whole.
“A healthy downtown is important and to have a healthy downtown, we need a healthy DBA,” said Pankow.
Council will discuss the future of the DBA in the New Year.
( Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. )
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times