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Letter to the editor: City attempts to remake Jamestown into ‘Fargo Light’

Jamestown City Councilman Dan Buchanan is to be commended for having the wisdom and the fortitude to speak out against the five-year property tax exemption for the MetroPlains housing project that was approved by the City Council and Mayor Katie Andersen on Feb. 3 (Jamestown Sun, 2/4/14).

If a corporation is big enough, there apparently is no limit to the taxpayer-subsidized gratuities that the Jamestown city administration is willing to bestow upon it under the guise of “bigger is better” or the hope of bringing in a few minimum wage jobs. The result is citizens and established local small businesses whose revenues tend to stay in the community being forced to subsidize large corporations whose revenues accrue to out-of-town headquarters — and frequently to subsidize competition from those large corporations.

However — as the East Business Loop reconstruction project so clearly and unfortunately demonstrated — when it comes to small businesses, the city administration not only does not hesitate arbitrarily to impose crippling increases in special assessments, but it obdurately refuses to take any action to reduce the devastating impacts to those businesses resulting from city-sponsored projects.

Rather than capitalizing on the unique assets a small town has to offer — the things that attract people to places like Jamestown rather than to large cities like Fargo (e.g., low crime, quiet neighborhoods, competent, personalized service from people you know who will be here next week and next year), the Jamestown city administration actively undermines those small town attributes and instead attempts to remake Jamestown into “Fargo Light” with none of the attractions of a small town but all of the problems of a big city.