At 48.5 percent, nearly half of the local businesses that responded to a New Braunfels Greater Chamber of Commerce survey say they have been impacted by the city's food and beverage container, or can ban, ordinance.
However, the survey's results came from a small sample pool of only 488 responses.
"I think that everybody (on the City Council) recognizes that this survey, even though it's 25 percent of the membership of the chamber, was not a random survey. And so, although it provides some interesting information, I don't think it's going to necessarily change anybody's mind (about the ordinance)," said New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil.
Of the 48.5 percent that said the can ban ordinance has impacted their business, 28 percent reported losing more that 20 percent of their annual gross sales in 2011 compared to the previous two years.
"I really feel like we've been picking up as the summer has gone along, and I think everyone including myself, the city manager, and the president of the chamber all recognize that really until the summer is over it's going to be really hard to make any definite prognostications about what the can ban ordinance had to do with the business this summer," said Mayor Pospisil.
Even though the results represent a small number of business owners, they come at an unopportunistic time for the city council, who could possibly face several river outfitters from around the city in court.
Judge Charles Ramsay, who presides over the Comal County District Court, ruled against the city's Plea to Jurisdiction Monday. The city was trying to prove that the river outfitters had no authority to sue, and are now appealing Judge Ramsay's decision that they do have legal standing to the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin.
However, pending that decision, the city could still find itself in court against local business owners, and this survey could possibly hurt their chances of keeping the ordinance in place.
"If we look at the sales tax numbers that we've had the last couple of months, and the significant increase in the hotel occupancy tax numbers it shows that we're doing pretty good, but I don't know how much a judge is going to look at that sort of thing in making his decision," said Mayor Pospisil.
The river outfitters, which includes several tubing companies, Schlitterbahn, and former New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams, is suing the city on the grounds that it doesn't have the legal right to regulate state-owned waters.