Attendance: Jason Barrett, Dwight Hall, Holly Wright, Jim Hewitt, Adam D’Antonio, Wendy Foster, Sean Godbey, Tom Milligan, Wendy Poppen, Justine Reed, Ed Stoner, Seonah Kendall;
Staff: Jason Dennison, James Yearling, Erica Vander Sande, Vanessa Kroeger;
Guest: Matt Robenault, DDA;
I. Welcome & Introductions: Jason Barrett called the meeting to order at 8:07am and welcomed the board. Jason Dennison introduced Vanessa Kroeger DBA’s new Staff Accountant/Office Manager. Jason Barrett introduced SeonAh Kendall to the board as the DBA’s new City Representative.
II. Minutes Approval: Jason Barrett asked for a motion to approve the September meeting minutes. Holly stated that there needs to be a correction made to the spelling of Jason Barrett’s name, Ed Stoner stated that a correction to names in the motions needs to be made. Wendy made motion to approve the minutes pending the amendments, seconded by Ed, all approved. Motion carried.
III. Old Business
A. Downtown Boundary Map: A corrected map was included in the board packet. Jason Dennison stated that the boundary map is simplified and in line with City Hall records, he feels it will be of great use for discussion and logistical purposes. Jason Dennison opened the discussion to hear feedback from the board. Jason Barrett commented that the map has been under discussion for a long time and is important to define the limits and noted that there is the ability to edit and change the map in the future if needed. He commented that although some had previously expressed concerns of not including the breweries, Woodward and CSU that two out of the three have been included in the map. Holly commented that she appreciates the inclusion of business north of the downtown core, Jim commented that consistency is imperative and that he likes the flexibility of being able to update the map. Dwight made motion to approve the boundary map as reflected in the downtown plan, seconded by Wendy, all approved. Motion carried.
B. Strategic Plan: Jason Barrett stated that the intention for the Strategic Plan is to set the course for the organization moving forward, from that will determine how Jason Dennison and the staff with achieve the Strategic Plan. Jason Barrett stated that staff structure and budget will need to be worked on during the later part of October but that the board does not want that to get in the way of discussion and debate of the Strategic Plan. Jason Dennison reported that he has solicited input and feedback since the last meeting, presented the Plan at the September Member meeting, and met with 15-20 stakeholders. He stated that the consensus is to have a more clearly defined avenue of advocacy; he reported that he also received some comments on the Mission Statement from stakeholders. He drafted basic responses and opened the discussion up to the board. Holly inquired as to when the Plan would be complete, Jason Dennison replied that he was waiting on the boundary map approval and would like the board to motion to make the revisions and then will present the updated version of the Plan in November for final board approval. Holly made motion to approve revisions to the Strategic Plan. Tom inquired about polling membership, if the board is free to make decisions or needs to poll membership prior. Ed commented that he appreciates the advocacy part and that with so many different decisions to make the board is the elected representative of members but that polling would have final decision making capacity. Sean arrived at the meeting and had drafted a procedure included in the board packet for review. Jason Dennison stated that he can continue to explore best practice methods and present several avenues to consider. Jason Barrett commented that the board is selected to be a representative body and that polling membership is not always the best avenue in certain cases; he feels that the board should have some freedom and license to make decisions on behalf of membership, consistent with decisions membership supports; if certain issues have to go through a member survey each time if would leave the board inept. Dwight commented that if 75% membership support of an issue is needed it would be difficult for the board to be effective, he suggested a more obtainable goal. Seonah stated that with bigger issues at the state level they send out information about the legislation and are given time to review so all members are well informed. Jason Barrett asked Tom about CSU process, Tom stated that the process is not comparable as they have three different committees approving each other’s decisions. He commented that he liked SeonAh’s suggestion and feels that the board should inform rather than advocate. Ed agreed with Dwight, Justine stated that she would like to see examples of what other organizations do, that if 50/50 cannot be represented fairly then the board should not represent the issue. Jason Barrett stated that he also felt like there is a large hurdle between 51% and 75% in favor. Ed commented that the two biggest advocacy issues in his time in downtown are smoking and parking. Jason Barrett commented that the spirit and intent is to inform, engage and make sure the board is advocating for the members; he doesn’t want to be confined to certain quantities or percentages if it would take roles and responsibilities away from the board. He would like to see the DBA have a strong voice and be on the forefront of issues. Jason Barrett thanked Sean for putting together the advocacy information and Sean commented that the level of advocacy may need to be stipulated, basically defining what advocacy looks like for the DBA. Board consensus was to gather more information on best practices for advocacy. Jim commented on the Mission Statement and asked what will be taken into account, Jason Dennison stated he’ll put three examples together and try to incorporate the input he’s received. Ed seconded the motion to approve revisions to the Strategic Plan, all approved. Motion carried.
C. Street Outreach Financial Investment: Derek from DDA had presented an update on the Street Outreach program and has asked the DBA to discuss the potential of a financial contribution. Jason Dennison proposed $6,000, $3,000 from 2015 and $3,000 from 2016 budget. Jason Barrett reiterated the stance on taking the lead on the homelessness issue and recapped Derek’s presentation of implementing an organization that can assist with low level, mental, and homelessness issues. The City is looking to fund this but DDA is looking for others to contribute as well; DDA is putting in $10,000, Visit Fort Collins $5,000 and Jason Dennison is recommending the DBA contribute $6,000. Wendy inquired as to when the program would start, Jason Dennison replied that DDA is hoping to hire someone in January and get things running in March; the project is a private-public partnership. Jason Barrett stated that the program could be questioned and debated but DBA needs to look at the program in terms of supporting the spirit and intention of it helping downtown; it will give resources to downtown and businesses downtown. DBA Board asked Jason Dennison to gather more information about program as a decision on financial contribution did not need to be made today. Seonah stated that she would send Jason Dennison the memo that was presented to City Council about the program. Justine commented that the outreach program was discussed during the retailers meeting and they have talked about a joint effort to collect in each store, something that looks uniform and solidifies supporting the issue. She stated that it affects other businesses, not just retailers. Adam commented that the issue is one of the most important at the City level and he thinks DBA will be conspicuously absent if they do not provide financial support to the program. Holly commented that another thing to remember is that police hands are tied in these situations and having more resources and taking action on the issue is important. Jason Dennison stated that Fort Collins will be on the forefront of a different way of handling these issues.
IV. New Business
A. Board Election: Currently there are 5 board members with terms expiring: Dwight, Holly, Jim, Jenny Bramhall and the appointed seat position for Wendy. Jason Barrett discussed the retreat and voting to reduce board size, with the new bylaws stating that two consecutive 3 year terms is the limit, members can be eligible for board reelection after one year off of the board. DBA Board can also have 3-5 appointed members, Jason Barrett reiterated that this allows for flexibility. Cache Bank has moved out of the downtown boundary and Jason Barrett opened the discussion on Lorna’s position on the board. Discussion was held on different options. Jason Dennison submitted a new nominating process to the board-first he wanted to propose the option of having elections in November or December; he stated this would give flexibility for the election process. Second, he would like to have the election process done electronically instead of via mail. He then proposed a process of having the board review candidates and making suggestions to the members based on their top two selections; this may help the board be more strategic in its formation and selection. Justine commented that she doesn’t view this as fair to members as it takes away the members’ voice and representation; Jason Barrett seconded her comments. Holly thanked Jason for putting the proposal together but was also advocating for the election process to continue as it has with member voting. Adam commented that he could see how the proposed process could be useful in filling in gaps with board member needs, Dwight seconded his comments. Jason Barrett stated that he feels the current process keeps the members more engaged and gives members motivation to find and campaign for board members. Sean stated that due to the DBA being member-based the voting needs to remain open and suggested levels of criteria for potential members, for example, a base level of knowledge and engagement of the DBA. The board recommended that Jason Dennison redraft the procedure portion of the election process and to review membership specifically those that are located outside the downtown boundary. Ed made motion to allow elections electronically. Dwight seconded, all approved. Motion carried. Justine made motion to allow elections to be held in November or December. Jim seconded, all approved. Motion carried. Dwight stated that Jenny with the DDA will come off the board as of 12/31/15; Matt stated that they will see who on their board can fill the position. Jim brought up Lorna’s position. Holly motioned for Jason Barrett to contact Lorna regarding her position. Wendy seconded the motion, all approved. Motion carried.
V. Staff Updates
A. Jason Dennison, Executive Director: Jason gave an update on the 501c3 application process, he has a meeting set with an application expert but would also like to meet with 2-3 more to get the process with the IRS started. He inquired about the finance committee as he will need to work on the 2016 budget. Holly stated that she normally attends the finance meeting and if Lorna does not continue on the board then she is happy to serve on the committee. Foothills Mall is having a Phase 1 opening on November 12, Jason asked that if anyone from the board would like to attend to let him know and he will RSVP. Jason presented the award received from Downtown Colorado Inc, he commented that the award belongs to James, DBA staff and 900+ volunteers and breweries.
B. James Yearling, Events Director: James reported that Fortoberfest was a success, due to a smaller footprint and reducing other costs. He will meet with Linda and Vanessa to finalize budget to actual. He included a synopsis of the IDA conference take-aways with the board packets. Highlights included a mobile app not being effective for downtown marketing purposes and multiple ways to target and utilize interns. He also stated that it was great to see Jason’s involvement and respect from the IDA Board, he is feeling really excited about downtown, the way it is managed, and extended his appreciation to Matt and the DDA staff for their collaboration efforts. James highlighted upcoming events: October 23 for the Old Town Square Open House, October 30 Tiny Tot Halloween in the Square, November 6 Holiday Lighting Ceremony, November 13 Shop and Walk preview, and November 23 DBA Volunteer Thanksgiving. Holly inquired about candy being provided for Tiny Tot Halloween, James replied that all businesses will need to purchase their own candy. First Night Fort Collins was discussed. James stated that they are looking to make this a free community event and walkable around the downtown core. He is still working on the possibility of shuttles being used to the Discovery Museum and also the possibility of MAX running for attendees.
C. Erica Vander Sande, Marketing Manager: Erica reported that Torre and Andrew will be the staff covering Erica and James’ positions during their respective maternity and paternity leave. She is working on new member structure and templates and also preparing for the bi-annual publication that will be offered by the DBA in Spring 2016.
D. Bob Zigman, Sponsorship Director: Bob reported that 2015 is winding down with $120,000 over the sponsorship goal. He is working on 2016 renewals and stated that more and more he is working with sponsors in a marketing capacity to see how sponsors and the DBA can promote each other to drive traffic downtown. Potential sponsors were discussed. Bob stated that he is excited for the direction James is taking First Night as he has seen that work well in other cities. The Board congratulated Bob on the year as he exceeded expectations.
VI. 2016 Staff Structure: Jason Barrett then excused DBA staff from the Board meeting. Board members then reviewed and discussed a draft of the 2016 DBA Staff Structure.
Meeting adjourned at 10:05am.