I oppose the purchase of five residential properties along Sheyenne Street as listed on Monday, Dec. 21 commission meeting agenda, item No. 9. City government should not be in the business of speculative real estate purchases for the purpose of creating a development incentive. There are sufficient economic development incentive programs already in existence, and extensively used by the city of West Fargo to accommodate development needs.
Furthermore, I express my concern that this agenda item may well have already been vetted with a majority of the commission members so that its passage tonight is all but a formality, inasmuch as the proposals for work by contractors are all ready for signing by authorities of the city, the staff's aggressive time schedule for completion of work, and the mention that Commission representatives were involved in the negotiations. Inasmuch as I do not recall any prior discussion on this proposed activity in recent history of the commission meetings, this seems to be a 'well-greased' proposal put forth to the commission.
While city staff continue to refer to funding these projects with tax dollars not impacting property taxes, they are in fact still utilizing public tax dollars to further their efforts. Those collected sales tax dollars, might instead, be used to reduce the burden of property taxes in some instances, rather than the staff continuing to find other ways to expend them. It's likely a good portion of those sales tax dollars are also coming out of the pocketbooks of our city's residents, so either way, you're likely spending our tax dollars.
Again, I do not believe it's a city's responsibility, nor it's purpose, to involve itself in speculative real estate ventures such as this proposed action item. If the opportunity is such a 'good deal', it should be left to the private sector to capitalize on it and not the taxpaying citizens of our community.
Maybe it's time to put our city staff spending on a budget diet.
Brad Schmidt, West Fargo