Letter: Business group unhappy with PCBC statement

To the Editor-

Recently, the Portage County Business Council (PCBC) Board of Directors released a Position Statement to strongly encourage its members to vote no in the upcoming referendum.

This is truly discouraging considering the mission of the PCBC. “PCBS’s priorities for our members and the community are retention and attraction of businesses and employees”.

Voting no to the referendum excludes the 57 south side businesses from the PCBC’s mission.

The PCBC should not take a position on the referendum. If the PCBC board desired to fulfill its mission, they and PCBC should have been involved in mediating a satisfactory resolution from the beginning. The facts are for eight months the PCBC sat on its hands and made no effort to offer suggestions or potential solutions. The only time PCBC reached out to the South Side Business Association was to inform them of its position a mere four weeks prior to the August 9 vote.

Addressing the position statement, some things need clarification. In the first paragraph, PCBC states that nearly any project over the $1 million dollar mark would be put up for a vote.

Most projects receive federal, state, and grant funding. The only time a project is put to vote is when the city’s portion of the project exceeds $1 million. Only seven times in the last nine years have projects been affected.

This referendum is tied to the Business 51 project because most of the city council ignored the 2,500 voters who wished their concerns to be heard.

An organization such as the PCBC should not wade into political differences such as this. They have failed their own mission to businesses on the south side. All the projects PCBC mentions in their position statement would have passed a referendum vote.

PCBC claims that “countless road reconstruction projects would have triggered a referendum vote”. This is just plain wrong.

If a referendum is needed, the city will need to be quick and nimble in its planning. Something that has been hard to find in our government. Despite the PCBC position, we encourage everyone to vote YES to the referendum. This keeps the city council in check with our tax dollars and helps with the retention and attraction of businesses and employees in our community including the south side.

There is no doubt we are disappointed in the PCBC with their decision to support a no vote and not the businesses on the 51 corridor.

Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADQVCDhwQl8 to view a video on the upcoming referendum.

Kevin Flatoff
South Side Business Association