DFA programs no longer listed in addendum

Published 6:23 pm Friday, October 4, 2019


Amending the City of Franklin’s agreement with the Downtown Franklin Association to require DFA Executive Director to report directly to City Manager Amanda Jarratt from now on hadn’t been on the agenda for the Sept. 23 City Council meeting. What had actually been scheduled for a final vote that evening was an addendum to the agreement titled “Exhibit A.”

According to a memorandum from City Manager Amanda Jarratt to Franklin’s City Council, Exhibit A was intended to be a list of specific performance metrics by which the city — with the agreement of the DFA’s Board of Directors — would evaluate the DFA when determining what dollar amount the association would receive from the city at the start of each fiscal year. According to the draft addendum presented at the Council’s Aug. 12 work session, requirements for the DFA to continue to receive city funding included: (1) providing City Council with annual and monthly reports, including an itemized report of revenue received and expenditures made during each quarter; (2) continuing the Commercial Rehabilitation Loan Program; (3) continuing the Facade and Security Grants program; (4) continuing fundraising and community events that support the vision and mission of the DFA; (5) obtaining and coordinating a corps of volunteers to assist in the work of the DFA, and providing the city with an annual record of the names of volunteers and the total number of hours worked; (6) rebranding the DFA, to include an updated logo, website, social media presence and other marketing materials, utilizing funds from a proposed Virginia Main Street grant and matching DFA funds; and (7) continuing economic development initiatives related to reducing the number of vacant and leasable first-floor storefronts within Franklin’s historic downtown district.

The specific objective for requirement No. 6 states that implementation of the new brand is to begin by Jan. 30, 2020. Specific objectives for requirement No. 7 list Startup Franklin Southampton, formerly known as Startup Downtown Franklin, and having a net positive percentage reduction in the number of vacant and leasable first-floor storefronts within downtown Franklin by Dec. 30, 2020.

These seven requirements had also been included in the April 8 draft of the addendum, which had been included with the updated letter of agreement that the Council had approved that evening. When asked why the Council had not approved the agreement, but not the addendum, in April, Jarratt said that the Council had wanted to see “one or two more specific goals.”

Yet the version of Exhibit A presented to Council on Sept. 23 — which the Council voted unanimously that evening to approve — lists only three objectives for the DFA: universal community branding; collaboration with organizations for events and activities taking place in downtown Franklin; and continuing to achieve National Main Street accreditation.

Further, the branding requirement no longer makes any mention of this effort using Virginia Main Street grant funds, nor does it give any specific timeline for the implementation of the new branding. Rather, it states that, “New branding is to be created for the DFA through community input groups potentially facilitated by a professional consultant. The new DFA Brand should be created allowing other Community groups, if they desire, to incorporate the new brand into their specific organization’s brand within standard (trademark/patented) approved branding guidelines.”

Jarratt, when asked about the seemingly less-specific objectives in the now-approved Sept. 23 version of the addendum, said, “They [the DFA] took all of that out, I’m not sure why.”

She then deferred to DFA Executive Director Dan Howe, who said it had been City Council that had indicated at the Aug. 12 work session that it would prefer the addendum to focus on those three points. At that work session, Howe had informed the Council that the DFA had indeed received a $5,000 branding grant. Mayor Frank Rabil and several other Council members had then asked about the possibility for collaboration between the DFA, the city and the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce to create a single brand for Franklin.

Howe then clarified that, despite most of the original seven requirements having been removed from the addendum, “Those things are still being done.”