JSDC Board to submit new proposal on sales tax to cityThe Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board of Directors voted at a special meeting Monday morning to change the wording of a proposal to define the city’s future responsibility for infrastructure related to economic development. “It’s my feeling that we should strive to do what we can, to do the best for the community,” said Jim Boyd, JSDC president.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board of Directors voted at a special meeting Monday morning to change the wording of a proposal to define the city’s future responsibility for infrastructure related to economic development.
“It’s my feeling that we should strive to do what we can, to do the best for the community,” said Jim Boyd, JSDC president.
The City Council has already had a first reading on an ordinance that would take half of the 1 percent sales tax for city use. Because of that, the JSDC voted to circulate a petition to put the issue on the ballot. The petition vote came after the City Council did not consider an offer by the JSDC Board to up give a quarter of the sales tax for the city to use as it chose and another quarter for economic development infrastructure.
Rather than a petition, the JSDC opted Monday to present another proposal to the city. In this one the JSDC would retain 55 percent of the city sales tax for economic development, said Alex Schweitzer JSDC Board member.
The other 45 percent would be directed to the payment of the city’s share of special assessments on city public works projects. The projects would include infrastructure pertaining to economic development and the wastewater treatment plant costs, but are not limited to the city’s sanitary and storm sewer systems, he said.
“None of us like this situation. It has been very polarizing for our community,” Boyd said of the debate over the tax usage. “At the beginning we said that we, JSDC, wanted to help.”
The board also voted to amend language saying the tax would be in effect through June 30, 2022, which is in the City Council’s new ordinance. Instead, the board wants the tax to return to its current Dec. 31, 2012, sunset date and continue to be renewed every seven years.
“I think in 2012 the city can certainly take the action to continue it,” said Ken Schulz, JSDC board member who represents the City Council.
Boyd said he and Schweitzer met with Councilman Pat Nygaard and discussed the proposal with Councilwoman Kelani Parisien and they agreed it was favorable.
“We pretty much gained assurance that we were going in the right direction with our plan,” Boyd said.
JSDC Board member Dick Geigle was the lone vote against the proposal, citing “voodoo economics,” “bad business” and “a power grab.”
“This is robbing Peter to pay Paul through the whole system,” Geigle said.
He suggested upping service fees and not using tax dollars for something like the sanitary sewer system, which is a public utility.
Schweitzer said it was time to move on.
“I hope we support this motion only because it’s a compromise and we can get on with our lives and support economic development,” he said.
The proposal will go before the city’s Finance and Legal Committee on March 23.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org