Commission keeps decision on restaurant agreementThe Stutsman County Commission decided Thursday not to change its acceptance of an agreement between the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and Brian Lunde regarding finances for the sale of the Buffalo City Grille. The meeting had been called at the request of Commissioner Dale Marks to revisit the county’s acceptance of the agreement
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission decided Thursday not to change its acceptance of an agreement between the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and Brian Lunde regarding finances for the sale of the Buffalo City Grille.
The meeting had been called at the request of Commissioner Dale Marks to revisit the county’s acceptance of the agreement.
Lunde is selling the Buffalo City Grille to Jim Heyer. To repay the $408,000 debt owed to the JSDC, Lunde is turning over two condominiums appraised at $150,000 each and paying $108,000. The JSDC has agreed to cover the marketing costs and commissions associated with the sale to the amount of $100,000.
“I’ve had calls about this situation,” Marks said. “People are upset and have questions about the agreement. People are concerned and there needs to be some explanation.”
Commission rules, explained by Mark Klose, chairman of the commission, require someone who has voted on the winning side of an issue to make the motion to reconsider it. Any member of the commission can second that motion.
The original motion passed by a 3-2 vote during the commission’s Oct. 19 meeting. Marks, Craig Neys and Denny Ova voted in favor; Klose and David Schwartz voted against the agreement.
After Marks made the motion on Thursday, Klose called four times for a second but there was none.
Saying the motion died for a lack of a second, Klose asked for a motion to adjourn but that action was delayed by a request from the audience for the issue to be heard.
“I ask for the chance for the public to make comments,” said John Grabinger, Jamestown resident. “It was inappropriate that a special meeting was held one day and the issue was ramrodded through the next day. We are hoping the least you can do is reconsider the vote and schedule it so the public has an opportunity to be heard.”
The original action of the JSDC Board of Directors on the agreement occurred during a special meeting on Oct. 18. The issue, with the board’s recommendation to pass, went before the Stutsman County Commission and the City Council’s Finance and Legal Committee on Oct. 19. The Finance and Legal Committee gave the agreement a unanimous do-pass recommendation.
Discussion from that point in Thursday’s County Commission centered on the advisability of reconsidering the topic and dealt little with the issues associated with the agreement.
“I voted against this originally but I’m opposed to reconsidering it,” Schwartz said. “We are opening ourselves up to constant debate on all topics if we start reconsidering votes.”
“In something like this, where you had less than 24 hours to get information, wouldn’t you want to reconsider,” he said. “All we’re asking is a chance to address the issue.”
Connie Ova, chief executive officer of the JSDC, said the issue was in the media and listed on the county and city committee agendas allowing anyone interested to comment.
“I took the time to show up,” said Alex Schweitzer, JSDC Board member, who spoke in favor of the agreement during the earlier meetings.
One member of the audience did address concerns with the agreement.
“What surprises me is the willingness to pick up the commission on the sale,” said Clarice Liechty, former mayor of Jamestown. “Are they going to do the same with the next deal to go through?”
After allowing the comments from the audience the commission adjourned. The topic will next be heard by the City Council during its regular meeting on Monday. Because it was passed by the Finance and Legal Committee it will be on the consent agenda but can be removed by any member of the board or the public for further debate.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com