On the issues for Jamestown City Council candidatesThe Sun asked the same 10 written questions of each candidate. Here are the questions and answers.
Employment or occupation (former if retired): purchasing agent at the North Dakota State Hospital since 1979
Education: High school, Britton, S.D., 1975; graduate, Jamestown College, major in business administration.
Immediate family: wife, Ruth; one son, John, a senior at Jamestown College.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: American Cancer Society - Relay for Life team coordinator, Trinity Lutheran Church, Jamestown College - Jimmie Booster Club
Employment or occupation (former if retired) Self-employed attorney
Education: Jamestown High School, Jamestown College and University of North Dakota School of Law
Immediate family: wife, Francoise; children, Emily, William and Sophie.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: Jamestown Regional Chamber of Commerce; Friends of the Fine Arts Society, Jamestown College; vice chair, Prairie Public Broadcasting; 164th Infantry Association, NDNG; and Birding Drives Dakota (past president).
Employment or occupation (former if retired): communications professional; Stutsman County 911 EMS dispatcher.
Education: graduate, North Dakota State College of Science. Associate of the Arts – liberal arts
Immediate family: two cats, Bella and Tiger.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: Young Professionals of Jamestown, The Arts Center in Jamestown, North Dakota Professional Communicators, North Dakota 4-H Ambassador alumni and National Buffalo Museum member.
Employment or occupation (former if retired): semi-retired. Work part time for the Main Street Downtown Association.
Education: graduate of Jamestown High School.
Immediate family: wife, Margaret; four children, Steven and Kevin Kourajian, Barb Kourajian Fisher and Beth Dufault; and two stepchildren, Dave Falk and Janet Falk; 12 grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; and four stepgreat-grandchildren.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: St. James Basilica, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Fraternal Order of Eagles and the B.P.O. Elks.
Jodie J. Mjoen
Employment or occupation (former if retired): supplier quality specialist, Goodrich Corporation.
Education: Bachelor of Science, business administration, Minot State University.
Immediate family: wife, Brandy; children, Maxine and Vivian.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: Jamestown United Way board member, James River YMCA board member, Prairie Paws pet rescue volunteer, Girl Scouts leader volunteer.
Employment or occupation (former if retired): Infinity Building Services and McDonald’s
Education: Jamestown High School, Jamestown College.
Immediate family: son of Paul and Sandy Upton.
Five most important memberships/organizations of which you are a member: None.
Should tax breaks be used as an economic development incentive? Explain.
Steve Brubakken: Yes, the City Council, in association with and by supporting efforts of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., should look at ways to assist new business start-ups, help current businesses expand and assist businesses in relocating to Jamestown. The funds used in these efforts need to be used in a manner that benefits the majority of Jamestown citizens, creates job opportunities within the city and/or adds to the quality of life in Jamestown. Businesses need to meet a set of criteria prior to being provided city tax breaks and there needs to be an ongoing review to verify that the businesses are complying with the requirements listed in their applications.
Dan Buchanan: No, they shouldn’t. Granting reductions or forgiveness of real estate taxes for economic development is unnecessary, unfair to a competing business and to all other property owners, particularly people living on fixed incomes.
Jacqueline Dotzenrod: There are better and more creative ways to attract businesses to our community than to force existing taxpayers to essentially subsidize new development. Unfortunately, this practice has become standard among many political subdivisions in our state and across the nation. From the public hearings I have attended regarding such tax breaks, it seems to me that often times these breaks are granted automatically. As a single City Council member, I would not have the power to end this practice. However, I would be skeptical of granting any sort of tax break because I know that if one group or business is not paying taxes it means others have to pick up the slack. As a Jamestown City Council member it would be my job to look out for the best interests of the people of Jamestown – not outside interests looking to take advantage of our community.
Charlie Kourajian: The State of North Dakota allows cities to give property tax exemptions in certain situations, like business expansions and new businesses. The state has many programs for developers to take advantage of. The city has the ultimate say in whether the project qualifies or not. In most cases we have allowed tax exemptions when properly applied for and for the good of Jamestown and Stutsman County.
Jodie Mjoen: I want our city to grow. I support the continued involvement in the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. to retain and attract businesses to Jamestown. One of the best opportunities we have to increase city income is new businesses and new workers/residents. Not ruling it out nor just jumping in, there is much to consider before I would commit tax breaks as economic development incentives. JSDC has the vision and mission to drive economic development in the Jamestown area and I would work closely with them to understand how competitive we are regarding retaining and attracting businesses. Bottom line, though, is return on investment and what can we afford. Tax break incentives are already available in Jamestown. In 1999, the state Legislature created the Renaissance Zone program to revitalize communities in our state and encourage development through tax incentives including property tax exemption, state income tax exemption and tax credit.
Samuel Upton: I believe that the city should use tax breaks as an incentive for economic development. In doing so the city has to input a planned out process for the developer. By this I mean there needs to be a plan of action for the city that the developer should have to follow, like using project management tool. One thing that is not the same for all properties is that they all have a different value and based on the value of the property or lot, that should help determine the amount of the incentive. If the city does this for one developer then the city should do it for all developers. The city should want to work with those who want to come to Jamestown and help develop areas within the town.
Some residents are concerned about what they must pay in property taxes in Jamestown. What, if anything, can the city do to address this?
Brubakken: There needs to be an involved discussion between city, county and state officials on ways to address local property tax concerns. The North Dakota Legislature worked on reducing property taxes during its last session by providing more than $300 million through the North Dakota school system to reduce property taxes statewide. I would encourage future legislative sessions to look at the state’s economic needs, its revenues and ways to implement a gradual reduction in property taxes rather than the elimination of property taxes altogether.
Buchanan: Jamestown is among the state’s highest in property taxes. Part of that is due to an extra 21 mills for the new high school. There are actions the city may take now. (1) Stop giving away the tax base; (2) look carefully at how property is assessed and (3) discontinue the use of across-the-board percentage valuation increases.
Dotzenrod: The city accounts for only a portion of the property tax bill citizens are shouldered with — a larger portion of it being levied by the local school district and also the county. While the city cannot control how much these other two entities levy, the city has a direct influence on how much property tax it levies by managing its budget.
Kourajian: The City of Jamestown is only one of the entities that levies taxes. We have no control over what the school system, county, park board, airport and library levy. The city only gets about 40 percent of your tax dollars. We work very hard to hold the line on taxes, but costs keep going up and so do taxes. We recently took half of the city sales tax, about $1 million, which we are applying toward the city share of specials, which we raised from 10 percent to 25 percent. This will save some tax money for all property owners. We have very few options to lower taxes; one is to reduce services which nobody wants to do. Almost every year, some business’ tax exemption runs out and it starts paying taxes which should help.
Mjoen: Some might say reduce taxes, but with my experience as mayor of Maxbass, N.D. I know it’s not that simple. I will work to implement a property tax communications plan to help citizens understand what drives property taxes. What expenses are nondiscretionary — locked in because citizens voted into place (high school, quiet zone, humane society, etc.) or other commitments (including special assessments), and which are discretionary. We expect adequate essential services (sewer, water, police department, fire department, roads, schools) and some nonessential amenities (parks, public activities centers, library, etc.) in the community we call home. The communication plan should be a two-way process, providing information and soliciting feedback to make financial decisions. Jamestowns budget is public information, but does not go far enough explaining why we pay the property taxes that we pay in Jamestown for city, county, school, special assessments, etc. We can do a much better job communicating this.
Upton: The city has to look into the budget and cut fat spending. What I mean by this is look at areas in the budget where the money doesn’t necessary have to be spent. Also there may be spots in the budget where the money is just sitting there and not being used. Let’s take that money give it back to the people, by dropping the property tax a little. In doing so this would allow the city to become competitive among other cities in North Dakota, attract residents and jobs.
The Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center is a joint operation of the county and city and is running in the red. What should the city’s responsibility be for the financial stability of the jail and LEC operation?
Brubakken: The LEC was built in the early 1980s in cooperation between the city of Jamestown and Stutsman County to share space and save on expenditures. Historically, jails, law enforcement centers and prisons do not generate enough money to cover their operating costs. The rationale behind having these facilities is to provide citizens with a safe environment in which to live and raise their families. I feel that the city should honor its financial obligations to keep the LEC operational, not because the LEC will make money but because of the added benefits the LEC provides to our community.
Buchanan: The combined LEC was intended to increase efficiency and save money. As for running in the red, I assume that means the jail. We have one of the state’s top tier jails, providing custody for prisoners unable to be kept elsewhere, including federal prisoners. The rate schedule charged in comparable jails in other cities, if higher, should be considered.
Dotzenrod: The city’s responsibility is first and foremost to the people of Jamestown — to provide our community with the facilities and services it needs in a cost-effective manner the people can afford. The city has a responsibility to work with the other agencies with a presence in the LEC to ensure this resource is well maintained and managed in a way the public can get the best value for its dollar.
Kourajian: The Law Enforcement Center is a perfect example of the city and county working together. The governing board of the building has taken several steps to reduce the overhead at the center and we are making every effort to maintain a high number of paying federal, state and regional inmates to balance our budget. The building is starting to age and we have made some major repairs to it. The city has always taken responsibility for its share of the costs of the facility and over the years has always contributed when the budget there is hurting.
Mjoen: I don’t know all the specific details of the LEC operation. But I didn’t know much about sewage lift station replacement, municipal bonding, local police and fire department funding or budget preparation and mill levy before I was mayor of Maxbass. My basic understanding is that shared service usage has dramatically increased over the past 10 to 15 years and financial support is basically unchanged. I would gather the facts of this issue, get input from key stakeholders and drive responsible short-term and long-term solutions just as I always have. We all know that a police department is a fundamental need of our town and we will ensure that it is financially healthy as quickly as possible and help ensure it is permanently stable. Critical to permanent solutions is understanding the root cause of how we got where we are and eliminating this from possibly happening again.
Upton: The city first should look into why it’s running in the red. Create a committee and have them examine where all this money is being spent. Doing this will help figure out where to help cut spending if needed. Another way to create stability is the have both the city and county contribute an equal amount of money to the LECs, look at the budget to determine how much money will be needed to fund both LECS.
What do you think are the highest infrastructure priorities in Jamestown when it comes to water, sewer and streets? Explain.
Brubakken: The past couple winters have placed a heavy burden on the city’s sanitary sewer system and it is imperative that repairs and upgrades to this system be a priority. The city is currently looking at a plan to take pressure off heavily infiltrated areas of the sanitary sewer system by transferring flows to Lift Station No. 1. The plan would also include adding a force main to transfer solid waste and provide upgrades to other lift stations. The city’s strategic plan includes the following infrastructure priorities in 2013; (a) implement a three-phase plan for sanitary sewer repairs and upgrades, (b) provide repairs and upgrades to the waste water treatment facility, and (c) provide water distribution system upgrades including a southwest water tower. I have reviewed the city’s strategic plan and feel it should be followed. We must also remain proactive in addressing the city’s infrastructure needs to reduce emergency situations.
Buchanan: The sewer systems, both sanitary and storm. Recent high water releases from both dams, requiring the dumping of raw sewage into the James River, underscored how important it is to replace marginal sanitary sewer system. Because those systems are integrated, failure of one part affects the whole town. The cost to upgrade them must be shared citywide.
Dotzenrod: First of all, the city needs to take care of what is already in place — maintaining what we have so our infrastructure does not reach a critical point of repair, risking a severe failure in the water, sewer and street systems. As for new infrastructure — as a City Council member, I would want to look at developing the road from the Jamestown Regional Medical Center (20th Street Southwest). This is not merely a matter of convenience, as it would provide an access point to JRMC other than the interstate — but also a matter of safety in the possible instance where an ambulance or any vehicle carrying an individual in need of emergency care needs to reach the hospital, but interstate access is blocked.
Kourajian: We recently completed an expansion at the water treatment plant and have studied the distribution system. We are planning a new water tower in the southwest area near Buffalo Mall. This should provide adequate water for fire protection and increase water pressure in that area. Expansion there is somewhat limited right now because of the water and sewer situation. Our sewer problems really surfaced in 2009 and 2010. We have had a study there and are in the process of repairing and upgrading some of the most critical lift stations in the system. We replaced the main sewer line to the waste water facility last year. We have a pretty good maintenance program for our streets. They are patched and crack-sealed every seven years and when they are beyond repair they are resurfaced. Top infrastructure priorities are the water tower, lift stations and another access to Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
Mjoen: I have already gone through a failed sewage lift station replacement starting my third week as mayor of Maxbass. By keeping citizens involved and lots of hard work, we left no stone unturned to find an affordable permanent solution. We replaced our system with no increase in taxes or special assessments. We cannot tolerate sewage backing up in basements making homes unfit to occupy. We must have ample water resources to support Jamestown’s needs as well as adequate roads. We must immediately support solutions to ensure nobody is in danger and at risk of eminent system failures. I would rate projects based on the impact if the system fails, likelihood of occurrence and detectability of catching the failing system. The issues that would cause the most damage, most likely to occur and least detectability would get highest priority. And we will leave no stone unturned to fund our solutions.
Upton: Jamestown has in effect a strategic plan that outlines what the city is doing now to fix all of these issues. The city is to execute the three-phase implementation plan for the sanitary sewer repairs and upgrades, wastewater treatment facility repairs and upgrades, and water distribution system upgrades to include a southwest water tower. The strategic plan that is in place now I believe is the right plan of action to fix our infrastructure now, so that what happened a few years ago doesn’t happen again.
How important is tourism to Jamestown? What funding should the city provide Buffalo City Tourism Foundation? Explain.
Brubakken: Tourism is very important to the city of Jamestown. The City Council needs to work with the BCTF to find ways to support various agencies that seek to promote tourism. The following organizations/sites offer great opportunities to promote Jamestown and the surrounding area; The National Buffalo Museum, Frontier Village, Fort Seward, World’s Largest Buffalo, White Buffalo, Stutsman County Memorial Museum and the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. The BCTF receives a percentage of the restaurant and motel taxes that are collected by the city. It also receives funding through the JSDC from city sales tax revenue. The BCTF board provides grants to qualified applicants for the upkeep, advertising and administration of tourism attractions as well as events, festivals, exhibits, programs and other activities designed to bring tourists into Jamestown and the Stutsman County areas.
Buchanan: Quite important. It is well documented that tourism plays an important role in economic development, generating new jobs, tax revenues and interest in the city. The city established Buffalo City Tourism Foundation to direct tourism activities. The city presently allocates a portion of the restaurant and hotel tax to BCTF. Over the years, that tax has provided and increasing source of funds to BCTF.
Dotzenrod: Tourism is a significant part of Jamestown’s economy. Not only does tourism bring in outside dollars to our city, but it enriches our community in a cultural sense as well. The best way the city can encourage tourism is to provide solid infrastructure and have a policy in place to allow the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation and other groups sharing its goal to do what they do best in bringing visitors to our community.
Kourajian: Tourism is a major economic tool for Jamestown and we invest thousands of dollars each year to attract people to Jamestown. Frontier Village and the buffalo herd are still our biggest draw and we need to continue to fund them. The Buffalo City Tourism Foundation has been entrusted with our motel tax money and quite a bit of our restaurant tax money plus a substantial amount of money from the JSDC. We have a lot of confidence in them and the work they are doing. I believe the two tax sources should continue to go to them and the JSDC should renew its contract with them when it runs out this year.
Mjoen: We are fortunate to have an organization driving to promote tourism and I support city funding to the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation. I would expect that any city spent funds would have full accountability. Tourism is important because it ensures people passing through know what our city has to offer. We have great water recreation opportunities, clubs and organizations sponsoring events, great hotels, restaurants, an amazing Jamestown College, and many great businesses to shop at. If we give people a reason to pull off the road and visit or vacation, we receive many benefits including tax revenue, support for local businesses and advertising for a great place to visit and live. I travel quite a bit and visit many cities. The ones that did a poor job of promoting themselves to tourist are quickly forgotten and I can’t wait to get back to the ones that do an awesome job.
Upton: Tourism is important economic asset for the city; it creates revenue for the city. The city funds Buffalo City Tourism Foundation by the local lodging tax and a portion of the restaurant tax. Operational expenses are granted on a contract basis through JSDC.
What is your vision of Jamestown for five years from now?
Brubakken: My vision is that by properly promoting economic development in the city and surrounding area we would see the population in Jamestown increase to around 20,000. The city needs to have consistent, well-coordinated plans that take into account the infrastructure needs required to expand, while maintaining the integrity of the city’s current infrastructure. Another area of expansion that I would like to see is to explore additional ways to utilize the Jamestown Regional Medical Center and other local medical facilities in providing added services. For example, providing radiation treatment locally would be a service that benefits many people in the surrounding area who currently must travel to Bismarck or Fargo on a daily basis.
Buchanan: My vision is for a city that knows what it does best and does it well as a regional city that attracts and provides services and products for new residents, both young and coming for retirement, shoppers and employees from a multi-county area. I see a city that offers multiple educational and recreational opportunities in a clean, well maintained and safe environment.
Dotzenrod: My vision for Jamestown isn’t all that different from the Jamestown of today. I see this as a successful community and part of why I want to run for city council is that I would like to play a role in continuing that success. Just as there have always been challenges for this community to face, there are new challenges coming our way — a population surge working its way from the west, economic development opportunities, and the growing concern over the tax burden on our citizens. Our community can view each challenge either as a chore or as an opportunity. I think Jamestown has many great opportunities ahead.
Kourajian: My vision for Jamestown is for it to be the best mid-size city it can be. We are never going to be a big city because of our location in the state. We need to maintain a diverse economy and provide jobs for all our people so they can stay here and enjoy the great quality of life we can provide. Good jobs and all the good things in our community will attract new people and perhaps bring former residents back to town. I see the southwest area around Walmart and the mall starting to develop with the improvements being made there. In five years the waste water plant will be paid for as will the high school. That should free up some dollars to possible lower our taxes and perhaps build the new activity center that we badly need.
Mjoen: In five years from now I want to see that Jamestown’s infrastructure is robust, not something we even need to be concerned about any longer. The city has growing existing businesses and has attracted new ones with great paying jobs. We have succeeded at encouraging the utilization of the North Dakota Renaissance Zone legislation to revitalize Jamestown’s 20-block designated Renaissance Zone downtown before it expires in 2014. The population continues to climb because of these great jobs and we have an increase in new housing construction. This has all been made possible because we have involved, happy, healthy citizens who stay in Jamestown because they wouldn’t want to be any other place.
Upton: I see Jamestown being a spot where people will want to stop at when traveling, a spot to live and raise a family, a community that will be growing and welcoming new businesses into the area.
Why are you the best candidate for the City Council? Explain.
Brubakken: I have been a resident of Jamestown since 1975 and have always been involved in the community. I believe that my professional background dealing with capital improvement projects, infrastructure, contract issues and competitive bidding would be an asset to the city in dealing with current and future strategic planning issues.
Buchanan: I won’t need any on-the-job training to be an effective councilman. I most recently proved my ability to get things done for a better and progressive city through my efforts to establish the quiet zone that silenced passing trains.
Dotzenrod: My strongest qualification is I know how to ask questions. In both my personal and professional life, this quality has afforded me many opportunities and I think this skill lends itself well in my role as a public servant. As a dispatcher, it is my job to ask the right questions to get the necessary information to assist the caller. As a reporter, it was my job to ask the right questions to get the information my readers want to know. I have several years of experience reporting on several levels of government including City Council, county commission and the state Legislature. I bring to the table an understanding of how these levels of government work together, which is a strong second trait I possess as a candidate. Thirdly, I have energy and drive to give the people of Jamestown the level of attentiveness they deserve from their representative.
Kourajian: I have been in city government for many years and was the city’s mayor for 9 1/2 years, I have the experience to do the work of a council person. I am a hometown boy who chose to live here, raised my family here and will someday retire here. I care about people and their concerns. I am a good listener and enjoy working for and with people to get things done. I am dependable, very rarely have missed a city meeting and look forward to serving the people of this city for four more years.
Mjoen: I would like the opportunity to serve as your representative because there are few things I enjoy more than utilizing the governing process to help resolve the tough issues we face and to make this the best city to live in today and in the future. My approach is and will be to gather the facts and involve the citizens I represent in development the solutions. I work hard to solve the problems that need solving. I commit the time it takes to get the job done. Because of this approach throughout my life, I have been supported by my friends and neighbors to be student body president of Minot State University, mayor of Maxbass, N.D., on the board of directors for the Jamestown United Way and the James River YMCA. In 2004 friends and neighbors endorsed/supported me for North Dakota House of Representatives race. I’m asking for your support.
Upton: If elected I will make sure that my actions and decisions will be what’s best for the town. That’s what all the candidates’ reason should be. We are elected to the city council by the people. We act as a governing body that decides what best for the town, pass rules and appropriate funds among the city. I want the people to know that I will listen to their concerns and put in the time and effort to fulfill my duties as a council member if elected.
What is your opinion of Measure 2, the initiated measure that would abolish property taxes if approved? Explain.
Brubakken: I do not support Measure 2 as it eliminates the primary source of funding for local governments. The measure would require the Legislature to replace $812 million yearly in lost revenue from property tax collections and to “fully and properly fund” cities, schools, counties, townships and other local governments to meet their financial obligations. Measure 2, if passed, will require the Legislature to address the needs of 2,100 local political subdivisions throughout the state. This will likely require a full-time Legislature and a new state agency to handle all of the political subdivision budget requests and to find alternative sources of revenue. Property taxes fund schools, law enforcement, fire protection, ambulances, parks and recreation, local government services, veteran’s programs, and a number of other local services. Loss of local control will create a cumbersome process for these agencies to maneuver through to obtain the funding they need to operate.
Buchanan: Measure 2 should be rejected because it will create chaos for budgeting all necessary public services at the city and county level.
Dotzenrod: I believe that Measure 2 was well-intended — and I think I also have an understanding of why so many people came together to put in the extensive work required to get this on the ballot. The people are concerned about rising property taxes — and justifiably so. However, political subdivisions have the power to curb the trend in rising taxes and keep government at an affordable level without giving up local control to our state Legislature. I want to be a part of keeping government expenditures at a level our people can afford and that is part of why I am running for public office.
Kourajian: I think Measure 2 has too many unanswered questions. We cannot depend on the oil money to carry our state forever. I shutter at the thought of our state legislators trying to please all the cities, school, airports, libraries, etc. if the property tax is eliminated. I believe the people of our state are better served if their tax dollars are supervised by local people.
Mjoen: I support local control of spending and setting funding levels (mills) to support responsible spending. Measure 2 does send a strong message to our local governments that they do not have open checkbooks — they are being monitored and not supported at unacceptable taxing levels. Jamestown citizens have told me they are moving out of state because they cannot afford their property taxes on retired income. I do believe people should not be taxed out of their homes. Many states have income sensitive property taxes and utilize sales, income and/or auto taxes to support the citizen’s needs. Factoid: In a 50 state nationwide comparison1 of major state taxes (income, property, sales, auto)on a family of 3 with $50,000 annual income, North Dakota ranks 47th lowest at 5.9 percent vs. national average of 8.8 percent of annual income. 1Tax Rates and Tax Burdens in the District of Columbia — A Nationwide Comparison 2010.
Upton: I am 100 percent against Measure 2. Why would we want to get rid of one tax to increase others to make up for lost revenue? I believe the people of North Dakota want to see reform of the property tax but we cannot allow for this measure to pass. All the cities in North Dakota need the money that is created from the property tax to be able to function properly.
What do you believe should be done to encourage business and other development in Jamestown?
Brubakken: The city of Jamestown and Stutsman County have incentive packages that are available to encourage economic development in the surrounding area. These incentive packages need to be promoted to make sure businesses looking to start-up, expand or relocate are aware of what Jamestown and Stutsman County have to offer. These programs need to be reviewed regularly to determine their viability and economic impact to the city and county. Programs that provide the greatest economic development should receive the greatest amount of promotion by the city and county. The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp, (JSDC) lists information regarding these incentive packages on its website http://www.growingjamestown.com/incentives/. Some of the programs available are: Economic Development Fund; PACE Loan; Flex PACE Loan; City/County Property Tax Exemption and North Dakota New Jobs Training Program.
Buchanan: We need to plan for growth and development by providing modern and adequate infrastructure. Areas suitable for business or housing development need to be secured by option or purchase. Reliable and affordable air service is a must.
Dotzenrod: The best way to encourage business and other development to come to our city is to provide solid infrastructure and manage the budget to keep taxes low for everyone who is here and also serves as a draw for anyone or any business looking to relocate here.
Kourajian: Every city and state in the country is trying to lure businesses to come to their locale. We are fortunate to have some sales tax money in reserve to use when and if some big industry comes along. JSDC is working on several projects right now which should make for some more jobs. We are insisting new businesses pay a minimum of $10 an hour and are holding them accountable for any money they get from us. We need to encourage local business expansion as much as possible and continues looking for a new business for the industrial park by Cavendish Farms and also for the Spiritwood area.
Mjoen: In the almost seven years that I have been in Jamestown I have seen an amazing organized effort by our JSDC to keep the medium and large sized industrial, manufacturing, and support businesses in Jamestown that are here and executing on a plan to bring new opportunities. Key to getting somewhere is having a plan to get there. The JSDC strategic plan evaluation of our area’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then assigning actions and countermeasures to drive to our plan is exactly how successful cities and corporations run. We need to support this effort and be active participants in driving solutions to execute the plan. If we retain and attract the medium and large industrial, manufacturing, and support businesses, the other developments like housing, restaurants, hotels, retail businesses, etc. will follow. It is simply a matter of increasing our population.
Upton: Jamestown should give tax breaks to people who want to start up a business and develop in the area. The city needs to make sure that the business and the other development that may