By Carlos Correa

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story could imply that Miracle Mile merchants were closing down all holiday events. This is not the case. The merchants have sponsored several holiday events to attract shoppers and more are planned throughout the holiday season and into 2018.

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The Miracle Mile Improvement District in Stockton has decided to cancel one holiday event, although several others have gone on as planned, as district leaders and property owners debate over a new partnership.

Right now, the current agreement is set to expire on Dec. 31 giving both sides just a short time to come up with a solution.

A simple vote over services along the Miracle Mile is now in question after district leaders found about 30 extra ballots in their office.

Maggie Lewis has been running Mag’s Rags Consignment along the Miracle Mile for the last few years. She says the Miracle Mile Improvement District is what’s helping keep her doors open.

“This has always been a really nice area to shop in, and it’s always focused heavily on the holidays,” she said.

But this year is turning out to be a lot different. Property owners are trying to work out a deal with the miracle mile improvement district to continue providing security and maintenance to businesses along Pacific Avenue.

“You know, I understand that from a landlord’s point a view, I know that tenants don’t want to take on that responsibility because the businesses here are suffering,” said Lewis.

Recently, ballots were sent out to property owners asking to approve a new five-year contract, but leaders with the district discovered something wrong with the voting process.

“Eighty-one property owners received 81 ballots, and yet 109 ballots came back, so the council chose not to make a motion to approve, and we are hoping the council will reconsider because if they don’t, as of December 31, our district goes out,” said Denise Jefferson, interim executive director, Miracle Mile Improvement District.

Leaders with the Miracle Mile Improvement District say 58 percent of the returned ballots were in favor of a new deal, but with close to 30 extra ballots the district is considering a new ballot to make sure everyone is on the right page.

“I am optimistic that the city council supports us and wants to see this go through and hopefully they will review the ballots and determine that there was fraud and count the legal ballots and we will persevere,” she said.

Leaders with the miracle mile improvement district are hoping to sign a new contract with property owners before January 1, 2018, to avoid disrupting services.

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