Our View: City’s threat to auto dealer makes no sense
Grass Valley demonstrated once again how out of touch government is when it comes to private business. Perhaps that’s because the folks working in government have never had to worry about things such as inventory, payroll, paying taxes and sifting through myriad regulations that are mostly designed to discourage commerce.
Take its recent negotiations with local businessmen Tom and Matt Weaver, for example. The two brothers, and strong community contributors, have been made to jump through more hoops than a Siegfried and Roy tiger as they’ve tried for the past several months to open a new dealership off of Idaho-Maryland Road.
Anyone who has ever driven past the current dealership on East Main Street (located on both sides of the cramped street) can see why the Weaver brothers needed to relocate.
Through months of meetings and negotiations, the Weavers agreed to help fund a traffic signal near the new site, even though that particular stretch of roadway was a traffic problem long before they decided to build a new dealership.
Finally getting a green light, the Weavers made plans to beef up their inventory, not knowing that weeks and weeks of rain would push their project further and further behind schedule. Inventory management is one of the more difficult parts of a retail business as most anyone outside of government knows full well.
Unfortunately, Weavers’ new vehicles arrived before the ground had a chance to dry and he needed a place to park them. And what better place than the land they already own? The land they pay taxes on to park cars they hope to sell so that the city can get its share of the taxes so that it can pay for its services (parks, police protection, planning department, etc.) that city residents expect.
At least that’s what they thought.
Earlier this week the Weavers received word from the city that unless they remove the vehicles from their own property, they would be cited.
“The storage of these vehicles without having a valid business on the site or certificate of occupancy is a violation,” read the very typical “friendly” government letter. “If the vehicles are not removed by May 2 it will obligate the city to take enforcement action.”
What a nice letter. What a wonderful way to treat a couple of businessmen who have contributed so much to this community and so much sales tax money to the city coffers.
And they wonder why most taxpayers have a problem with government? A letter like that makes the Internal Revenue Service look like graduates of a Miss Manners seminar.
Matt Weaver said he has had several subsequent offers of help since news of the city’s threat to “take enforcement action” was delivered. Most of the offers are for space to park Weavers’ 40 or so new vehicles until they can get the proper permits.
As it looks to address myriad traffic issues and other costs, the city ought to remember the rule of the Golden Goose. The foundation of a quality community rests in its ability to afford one. And the biggest bills are often paid for by local business.
Perhaps the city also needs a lesson in old-fashioned customer service and diplomacy, two things that were sorely lacking in this particular instance.
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