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Friday, August 21, 2009

Greeley Council Thumbs Nose at Existing Mom and Pop's

Ma and Pa businesses in Greeley Colorado need to get hollerin' at the Greeley City Council. Greeley Council passed a resolution to lower development fees last Tuesday night. I really try to stay out of these battles as the public rarely gets a real transparent look at the goodies being traded across the table in these type of negotiations. But I can't help but notice Greeley's undies keep being exposed when it comes to long term strategic direction for this city. Time to get serious when electing these officials folks. Greeley isn't just a podunk town any longer.

The new fee break being handed around comes with a stench. Why are businesses coming in now getting sweet kissy-face deals at older businesses' expense. Why give one business a competitive advantage over existing businesses. The City's job is to court specific industry targets and development--not to wade into competitive positioning. It's like the honeymoon for all the Ma and Pa's struggling to stay afloat is over and now the best bedroom suite is being whipped out for new and expanding businesses.

The big problem is the sheets on that honeymoon bed aren't clean.

This strategy may appear fine and dandy on the surface for those businesses like Sooper's being romanced. After all it is an unfortunate common practice deployed by corporate interests and developers to sweet-talk councils into lowering their operational expenses. But, I'll argue, Greeley isn't every city and it has carved out special problems for itself that need a special strategy. Time to look those sweet-talkers in the face and get some real political backbone (and better advisors). Not to mention that the ugly smaller ducklings hanging back against the wall need to be asked to dance too.

What about infrastructure for the aging, decaying, poorer parts of town? What about redevelopment funds to draw people back into the sectors that have those empty store fronts? Who is going to get stuck with the bill to support all this infrastructure ten years from now? What about finding new ways to perk up those saggy bags under Greeley's eye and put facades in all those closed store fronts down 8th avenue? What about fluffing up the education sectors? The culture art activities are where again? Getting serious about getting monies and marketing together for a "real" Farmer's market? A generic, "sounds-good-to-me", tax base strategy will not get the job done except for those trying to keep Greeley a low-wage industry dumping ground for snail-snot companies with bad business practices.

JBS Swift Sinks Good-Ship-Lollipop

I get what the Council thinks it will achieve. By lowering these rates they will get more business in and might draw a few opportunities away from other, family-friendly, neighboring towns. That's not what the bigger forces in power have planned for Greeley.

Greeley's Barrio

Have You Seen Ma an Pa Lately

First of all, in the case of Sooper's, it is going to go where the studies show there is enough market to survive. It is trying to stay competitive with the well capitalized Safeway expansions and that's all good, in the long run, for the consumer. But helping them out? Back door subsidies for special interests are not any prettier viewed locally than they are nationally. Are we going to do this every time a food store wants a little more elbow room? Whisper a few sweet corporate words in a Councilperson's ear about ...."just can't quite make it happen with those fees and taxes..." and off flies the dress and the romance begins.

We need savvy deal makers instead of social engineers at the city helm. Someone who can see past the first dance and date. One of the bolder early strategies of Walmart in rural areas was to open up stores close to their smaller competitors, wait until the competition's ship sunk, then close the store and allow the regional store to service everybody. Is Greeley going to subsidize this type of activity too. Do the existing Mom and Pop's really not in market position to expand or move going to have to float the bigger corporate machines with minimum wage jobs as they, supposedly, roll into town to bring all these new job opportunities?

Who has the Greeley Town Council's ear?

Oh that's right, the Northern Colorado Economic dudes and dudettes have it. Well Greeley City Council just danced really pretty for their "economically 1970 minded" counterparts. As I have said in earlier postings--it is pretty clear Greeley has lined itself up to be the economic armpit of Northern Colorado by making poor decisions on what type of companies (JBS Swift is one that comes to mind) to groom for life in Greeley. Now, by showing its undies and willingness to cut rates for low returns, Greeley has just thrown open the doors to continue this type of snail-snotter corporate development. And Ma and Pa will be helping taxpayers float these boats.

Thank you Greeley City Council.

Greeley needs a better plan, better advisers, and full-time dedicated politicians to pull it out of the position it has allowed itself to be pushed into. Redevelop the side of town where people only make $20k a year. Get that plan working for pumping the Farmer's Market and snag those funds you flipped your nose at. Make a strategic plan to lower the rates for the types of businesses that bring in stable families and living wage jobs. Attract new types of industry--not just ANY type of industry. Make a target and aim for it. City Council may not have advanced economic degress but haven't you guys ever played Sim City? Promote education and weave it throughout all age groups in the city. Make a thriving viable city-square out of the old barrio areas and bring in small businesses, artist studios, and revive some of those cool old buildings like the Kress. Get people walking around town and talking to each other instead of doing the Stepford family thing on the West end of town. Bring the Munsters and the Stepfords together and mix them all up--a healthy economy is a diverse economy with a strong Ma and Pa sector.

Otherwise we are all going to end up being the hairy old arm pit of Northern Colorado and a low-wage service community to Fort Collins. The professionals will live in Fort Collins, spend money in Fort Collins, develop Fort Collins quality of life, and drive into Greeley everyday for work and drive home at night to live and kick up their heels. Meanwhile Greeley will have low rent, low wage, decaying infrastructure left to service the retirees who have stuck it out, the toxic factory jobs, and a bunch of abandoned buildings. The only green in town will be the castle on the hill called UNC.

Voters in Greeley should look carefully at who they elect this fall. Out with the old and in with the new. Time to look outside the box for answers and quit shooting down ideas simply because they come from "outsiders". And ask your handy-dandy economic development industry pushers--just what that candy-coated advice they are giving you is going to lead to in the long run. Besides the shiny-badge editorials from their buddies in the local newspaper of course.

Time to build your own spine Greeley and quit laying down in the middle of the road so the rest of Northern Colorado can dump on you.

Just my opinion... of course.

Comments :

mowdy5gs said...

Well Jane I have been there and know one is listing. It seems that my ideas blogged on the trib a few years ago have panned out rather nicely. This council is lead by the biggest inbred hick of them all Ed clark. Among others they seem to value a fruitless model based on that of the declining southern states, which mask their detriment by assuming the rank of brining many jobs to town. However to the trained eye it is easy to see that the jobs that due come are nothing more then minimum wage fronts that in fact drive down the economy by employing minimum wage seekers of no education which also in turn brings fourth a police state setting whereby a Para military police force is able to thrive. Also what is bothersome is that most in power in Greeley are not even from here and have no trouble disregarding their scruples in favor of a kick back or two. They will not learn Jane and the fact that Republican politics plays into this kind of inbred “Politickin” shows that nothing will change. Greeley simply is what it is and has no aspirations what so ever to aspire to heights not yet reached. The motto here is aim low keep your heads down. You must look no further then all of the law enforcement scandals NFB, Iron Mountain and so on and so on to realize these crooks are only in it for the short term and themselves. An artificially propped up economy says it best when addressing Greeley’s economy and you may thank NFB for this. The Judas like mentality and the way citizens turned on illegal immigrants who built Greeley in many ways is a monument to the idiocy that resides in town. I’m sorry but there is no hope for G town. You must look how far back they have been talking about re vitalizing downtown to see that that is simply a pie in the sky that will never have a flavor. Greeley is what it is for a reason and as it has been said best “go west young man go west”. It is this way by design.

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