With a sophisticated economic development program already in place and an estimated three-quarters of a million dollars spent annually on business …
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With a sophisticated economic development program already in
place and an estimated three-quarters of a million dollars spent
annually on business retention and growth, there’s very little need
for the all-citizen volunteer Business Industry Affairs Advisory
That was the reason Littleton City Council gave when they opted,
in a 6-1 vote, to dissolve the 22-year-old committee with a
possibility of re-examining a citizen group in the distant
“When we ask citizens to give up their time, we better make sure
that we have a very clear direction and that we use their time and
talents most effectively,” said Councilmember Debbie Brinkman, who
served as the BIAAC liaison.
“I don’t believe that’s happening with BIAAC right now. They’re
not doing anything at this point to support the economic gardening
program, and that is in fact, Littleton’s driving economic
But eliminating the citizen committee gives the impression that
the city is closed to business, said BIAAC committee members in a
letter to city council.
“There’s already a perception in the metro area — no matter how
erroneous — that Littleton is closed to business,” they said.
BIAAC members believe it’s important for every municipality to
have a group of citizens interested in the business community to
offer outside perspective and input.
“Citizens are out pounding the streets. The see issues in a
different light. They can offer input and be the go-to people that
staff can call and check in with,” said BIAAC member Kay
At the Sept. 1 council meeting, Watson produced a list of
neighboring municipalities that have some form of a citizen
business advisory committee. Arvada, Aurora, Castle Rock, Denver,
Englewood, Westminster and Parker were all mentioned.
Originally, BIAAC was designed to monitor public issues that
impact economic development and suggest a course of action for the
city by visiting with various business owners and sectors and
reporting back to the Business Industry Affairs Department.
But as the department has matured and developed other methods of
outreach, the committee has played less of a role, according to
Director of Business Industry and Affairs Chris Gibbons.
“They haven’t given my department a lot of advice other than
what we pick up about the business community by being able to talk
to (the committee),” Gibbons said.
“They’ve never made specific recommendations but rather weighed
in on policy and budget matters with city council.”
The number of recommendations actually implemented has been
“Things have changed since when the (Business Industry Affairs
Advisory) committee was first created,” said Mayor Doug Clark at
the Sept. 1 meeting, citing the implementation of the city’s
economic gardening policy.
“I have a hard time seeing that a readjustment and a look at
what the role of BIAAC is, is going to send a message to business
community that we don’t care,” Clark said after rattling off a long
list of ways he sees the city working to grow the business
The city spends a lot of money each year trying to enhance and
communicate with the business community, he added.
An estimated $600,000 is budgeted for the city’s economic
development department, and South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
receives more than $10,000 annually from Littleton to act as the
interface to local businesses.
“Things have changed since the committee was formed,” Watson
said. “But with the economy the way it is you don’t want to
alienate your businesses or volunteers.”
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