Letter to the editor: Businesses that don’t keep promises should lose aidAt the Jamestown chamber’s City Council candidate forum, the chamber chose not to use my submitted question, along with the background information provided, of “Are you willing to investigate and reconsider a tax exemption previously granted?”
By: Clarice Liechty, The Jamestown Sun
At the Jamestown chamber’s City Council candidate forum, the chamber chose not to use my submitted question, along with the background information provided, of “Are you willing to investigate and reconsider a tax exemption previously granted?”
The Jamestown City Council granted Marvin Brown/Prairie Hills Apartments a five-year tax exemption and another five-year payment in lieu of taxes on 20 units of his 35-unit apartment building.
Brown was given these property tax exemptions because — in his written application and in his verbal testimony before the council — he testified that he was going to rent 20 of his units to those who required assisted-living services similar to the Heritage Center, and he was going to provide several specific services for these tax exemptions.
In any follow up I have done to determine if he is providing what he said he would provide, I have found that Brown/Prairie Hills Apartments is not renting to those who require assisted living services, nor is he providing assisted-living services at the level promised. Several times I have requested that the city investigate and, if they find my follow-up findings are correct, deny the tax exemptions previously granted.
On Dec. 5, 2011, with a three-person quorum of the council, Councilmen Pat Nygaard and Charlie Kourajian voted to pass a motion to reconsider the tax exemption previously granted. The motion passed with Mayor Katie Andersen voting nay.
On Jan. 3, 2012, Andersen moved to deny the reconsideration. Andersen and Councilmen Ramone Gumke and Ken Schulz voted to deny my request for reconsideration. Councilmen Nygaard and Kourajian voted against the motion.
For the property tax year 2011, Prairie Hills Apartments’ total tax (minus special assessments) was $19,557.91 on 35 units or $595.14 per unit per year. The property tax on my Linden Court Apartment was $84,129.39 for 62 units or $1,356.93 per unit per year. The difference is $798.13 in property taxes more per unit per year that I am paying on each of my apartment units. Our rents are similar. The buildings were opened up for renters at the same time. $798.13 X 62 = $49,484.05 I am paying more per year for property taxes for Linden Court.
Is passage of Measure 2 the solution to correct the inequity noted above? Yes, unless the chamber and the council are willing to recognize the inequities, and the City Council takes action locally.