The Waukesha Farmers’ Market kickoff is only a few months away, and while the Waukesha Business Improvement District remains in limbo, a group of local business owners is taking over the market.
The BID previously ran the farmers’ market; however, this season it will be run by the Waukesha Downtown Business Association. The change leaves some questioning if the market will continue to receive funding from the BID while the BID’s future is being determined.
City Administrator Ed Henschel told Waukesha Patch on Thursday the DBA will not received BID funding; however, a determination will have to be made about payments already made by vendors to the BID for 2013. The payments would either have to be forwarded to the DBA or returned to the vendors, he said.
The Waukesha Farmers’ Market expanded in 2012, doubling from the 2011 season to more than 100 vendors. The DBA took over running the market during the last two months of the 2012 season after Executive Director Meghan Sprager resigned, citing a hostile work environment.
In the meantime, the BID Board of Directors will not meet while the dissolving process moves forward. More than 60 percent of people owning property in the district have signed a petition for it to disband after years of disagreements about the special taxing district.
“We can meet, but I don’t see any object to it,” Henschel said. “I think we need to know whether the BID is going to exist or not exist.”
A public hearing about terminating the BID is scheduled for March 6, according to a letter from Community Development Director Steve Crandell.
The BID has been in a state of upheaval for months – although some say problems have been occurring for years. After the former executive director resigned from her position, citing bullying and a harassing work environment, the majority of the BID board resigned from their positions. After months of battling, the Common Council and the mayor finally agreed to appoint enough members to restore the board.
The BID has existed since 1986 and its operations are funded by a special tax assessment in the downtown business district. The Waukesha mayor appoints members to the Board of Directors, who are then approved by the Common Council.
State statutes require the city to terminate its BID if property owners from more than 50 percent of the assessed value in the district petition to leave the district.