Lochaber could become the hub of a Business Improvement District (BID) with about 1000 businesses from remote mainland areas to the small being charged a levy to help encourage visitors.
But a new group of businesses, Farewell Bid, claims the identity of those who have been approached is being withheld, and that if the Lochaber Living BID succeeds it would cost local businesses £1.8 million over five years.
Vicki Sutherland, a founding member of Glencoe and Loch Leven Marketing Association, said "This proposal will impact on almost every business in Lochaber and will, whichever way the vote goes, split the community."
Mel Macaskill, chair of Ballachulish Community Council, said: "We understand that the levy can be legally enforced against all businesses even if only 13% vote in favour of the BID. This surely cannot be fair."
The steering group of Living Lochaber, which represents other businesses, said around 60% of companies in the Lochaber area would pay less than £200 a year.
Frazer Coupland, chairman of Living Lochaber, added: "The BID Proposal included a six-month consultation period with 1200 businesses in the BID area."