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City Council Questions Downtown Wheaton Association Agreement

The city council discussed the agreement between the Downtown Wheaton Association and the city, which expires May 17, at its meeting Dec. 20.

In its last meeting of the year, the city council approved ordinances for the tax levy for the current fiscal year, ending April 30. They discussed the ordinance for special service area number six (SSA#6),  which was also passed.

Councilman Phil Suess asked for clarification regarding SSA#6 and the impact on the funds if the agreement between the city and the Downtown Wheaton Association (DWA) is not extended beyond its expiration date of May 17, 2011.

City Manager Donald Rose said that if the agreement were to end in May, no further payouts from SSA#6 would go to the DWA. If the agreement is terminated, Rose said there would be a question of "what to do" with those funds, which the city would receive in June and in September. However, he said he thinks the DWA intends to ask to extend the agreement.

Suess voted against the levy.

"We talk about things we can do with respect to enhancing downtown," he said, but one of the most positive things the council can do is to leave the money with the property owners "as opposed to being collected for the benefit of the DWA."

Councilman Howard Levine added that he has always hoped that despite different goals, the DWA and the Wheaton Chamber would work in conjunction with one another.

"I think it'd be more effective for the city and downtown," Levine said. "The SSA is going to expire and it's questionable whether another SSA would be approved for the DWA ... We'll see how long the DWA is able to go if the SSA is not extended, which I think is highly questionable."

Councilman Todd Scalzo responded, "The DWA is making efforts to work with the chamber more."

The two recently exchanged board members, he said, so that one DWA board member sits in on chamber board meetings, and vice versa.

The SSA#6 levy was passed and the city will make a decision regarding the agreement between the city and the DWA next year.

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