The Partnership for Haddonfield, the borough's tax-funded business improvement district, has scheduled a public meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Municipal Hall to get feedback from business owners.
Officials said the evening time is designed to attract more business owners than the sparsely attended 8:30 a.m. monthly meetings of the PfH board.
"The purpose is to allow people who have businesses in town, who pay the BID (business improvement district) tax, an opportunity to communicate directly with the board members," said Commissioner Jeff Kasko who oversees the PfH for the borough Board of Commissioners. "Some of these business owners have some complaints or they have some concerns and this is a way for us all to come together in a room and talk about it."
The meeting was scheduled last month after published reports of discontent among some borough business owners, including Steve Duross who announced his soap and candle shop was closing at the end of this year. Duross was recruited from Philadelphia to the Kings Highway business district by Lisa Hurd, the PfH retail coordinator. His store opened in February of this year.
He said he made a mistake moving to Haddonfield but also said he was disenchanted with Hurd and with foot traffic he expected in Haddonfield. Hurd and Kasko said Duross' criticism was unwarranted, but several other business owners privately complained, as well.
Kasko said he hopes tonight's meeting will yield not just complaints but ideas on how to address concerns.
"I don't just want to hear about complaints," Kasko said. "I want to hear about solutions, too. Apparently people have some ideas and they feel like their ideas are not heard or they don't have a venue to express their ideas, so we said lets do this."
In 2004, the borough established the Haddonfield Business Improvement District, a commercial zoning area within which additional taxes are levied on property owners to fund townwide shopping and cross-promotional efforts.
At the same time, Haddonfield also established a management corporation, the Partnership for Haddonfield (PFH), to oversee the use of these funds. In 2010, the PFH tax totaled a quarter of a million dollars, or 65 percent of its budget; another 26 percent, or $101,357, came from a percentage of its prior year surplus.