Thursday, April 27, 2006
An Unordinary Approach to Ordinance 60
The business community is a minority voice within the greater Duluth community. We are a thin slice of our community’s collective pie. When business community members publicly differ on a business related issue, we lessen our already limited influence and muffle the voice of business.
The city council’s proposed Ordinance 60 has, unfortunately, caused us few business types to quarrel amongst ourselves.
The ordinance is intended to expand the regulation of development agreements and business subsidies. Its initial author, Councilor Russ Stewart, intends to use the ordinance to limit the city’s financial risk when participating in development projects. Councilor Jim Stauber has updated the proposed ordinance and is now advocating for its implementation. Many business types applaud the ordinance’s intent and are publicly pressing for its passage.
Others within the business community oppose the ordinance, believing it will inordinately transfer the financial risks associated with development projects from the city to the private developer. They believe the end result will be less development in our beloved community.
Local radio shows, blogs, and newspapers have called attention to the ordinance and to the differing opinions within the business community. Battle lines are being drawn. City council votes are being lobbied and counted. The sleeves on many a dark business suit are being turned up and clinched fists are being formed.
Thankfully, we recently got a grip on our collective selves and agreed to meet and discuss our differences related to ordinance 60. The meeting occurred at the Chamber just hours before the ordinance was scheduled to be voted on Monday, April 24. The meeting resulted in the ordinance being tabled at that night’s city council meeting. We now have time to work out our differences and to modify the ordinance in a way that will allow the business community to find common ground on this important initiative.
The Chamber’s leadership is pleased and proud to be a part of this effort to move business forward in this beautiful city. Besides, I don’t like to see business men and women scuffle. It’s hard on the business wardrobe.
posted by David Ross