Seeking reimbursement: Business owners on East Business Loop want to recover revenue lost during construction projectBusiness owners along the East Business Loop continued to make their case for reimbursement for lost business last summer during the Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee meeting Tuesday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Business owners along the East Business Loop continued to make their case for reimbursement for lost business last summer during the Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee meeting Tuesday.
The issue stems from problems accessing the businesses during the reconstruction of the East Business Loop road and frontage road during the summer of 2011.
Property owners had asked for a five-year tax exemption similar to the incentive the city gives some new businesses at the committee’s January meeting. The committee asked City Attorney Ken Dalsted for a legal opinion.
“Property tax exemptions are creatures of state law,” he said. “I find no exemption available for lost profits. It is not identified as an allowable reason for tax relief.”
Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen said similar problems had been faced by other businesses.
“This is nothing new,” she said. “The people along 281 South and First Avenue North were all inconvenienced during those constructions.”
Property owners along East Business Loop said their losses were severe.
“We were promised there would be no interruption of business,” said Jean Seekins, owner of the Star Lite Motel. “There were things that could have been done better. For this we hold you responsible.”
Seekins said she felt business was about 20 percent less than it could have been during the 2011 summer season.
“We had many times other motels referred people to us that never arrived,” she said. “We think this was because they couldn’t find us, especially in the dark.”
Other businesses related similar experiences.
“A lot of things were promised so we’d lose only a minimal amount,” said Dale Redding, owner of S & R Truck Plaza. “There were things done and mistakes made.”
Redding said he had been promised direct road access to his business in July that was not completed until November.
The committee directed Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer, to prepare a report on the obligations and actions of Ulteig Engineering, the consulting engineer on the project, and any other businesses involved with the road project.
In other business, the committee approved setting aside a section of Second Street Southwest for vendors during the Runnin O’ the Green in March. Vendors will be charged $50 for a space. No vending will be allowed on any other city-controlled right of way during the event.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com