Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

Today, I have to vote on a lease agreement that will have an impact on the future of our city. It was my original intent to abstain from voting because I know the owner of the business competing for this property. I felt that would be the ethical decision since he has kept me updated with his efforts to utilize this property and acquire a lease. I have thought carefully about this decision and have decided to exercise my right to vote "no" on a matter of principle. I have no doubt that the company named in the lease has good intentions and the ability to succeed with this property. However, my concerns are the following. For the last year, we have declared as a city, that we would strive to become more business friendly. We also claim to want to help local entrepreneurs succeed. I have heard from many small business owners that they feel it is unfair how we hold them to the same standards as a multi-million dollar company. We ask for financial reports, floor plans, architectural drawings and business plans that they often pay a premium to produce. In this case though, it appears to me that we are holding the small, local entrepreneur to a much higher standard than the big multi-million dollar out-of-state developer with a history of doing ordinary things with extraordinary buildings. We appear to be talking out of both sides of our mouths. We have asked the local business owner to produce a financial statement and a business plan so that we could determine if his idea was a good concept for the building. He never asked for money. He only asked to change one clause in the existing lease that would allow greater flexibility for his purpose.
After viewing his plan our staff solicited another company and agreed to do business with them based on a financial statement and a drawing on a single piece of paper which was presented as a conceptual plan. It simply shows removing some jet fuel tanks and moving a security fence. We then designed a lease based on their simple concept. Now, they can develop whatever plan they want after we have agreed to the terms of this lease. Personally, I think this was the wrong thing to do. We should hold them equally accountable to produce a bona-fide business plan and design the lease based on their business plan. I have a conscience and I have high standards. The way this deal was put together simply does not meet my standards of doing business. I empathize with the little guy since I too have been denied business loans, financial support and had big companies fail to pay after shipping goods. I sincerely hope that I am completely wrong on what I anticipate could be the result of today's vote. However, I feel it is better that one of us be wrong (that being me) and the other four be right versus all of us being wrong in 5 years when this lease is re-evaluated.

You can read the local newspaper story HERE.


David Esrati said...

Good position Gary. Now find out how much people were paid to vote for this bum deal.
We have a deal with UPS- why was there a rush to give away the store?

G-RANT said...

"we are holding the small, local entrepreneur to a much higher standard than the big multi-million dollar out-of-state developer"

seems to me like a good opportunity to reduce in number or completely remove the many prohibitive regulations that currently discourage small businesses in dayton.