November 22, 2014
our view

Standish City Council in no-win situation… again

Posted 6/24/09

The state of the economy in Arenac County has put Standish’s City Council in a tight situation time after time after time this year.

Making a choice on whether or not to waive Mistequay Corporation’s property taxes is no exception.

After getting the news of Standish Max closing, the city is facing the loss of 45-percent of its annual water and sewer revenue. Earlier this year, the city opted to waive an 18 or more employee stipulation for Competitive Machining to save the few jobs remaining at the industrial manufacturer that continues to search for lending and contracts, even though the city could have collected about $20,000 in abated taxes from the company. Even more recently, the city agreed to grant the Migizi Corporation lower water and sewer rates than in-city residents to close the deal on upcoming developments of Migizi, an economic developer for the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe, and to ensure more jobs in the area.

Now, the city, if it chooses to waive Mistequay’s property taxes, will lose about $13,000 per year in uncollected taxes. What will become of Mistequay if the taxes aren’t waived?

That’s the problem. The company has already downsized over the last couple years and now employs a much smaller workforce than it ever has and if it doesn’t get relief, may have to close up shop, adding 31 people to the ranks of the Arenac County unemployed and no doubt stinging small business owners.

City Council is darned if they do, danged if they don’t; caught between a rock and hard place.

The governing body of the city has been flexible to date. Whether or not it can afford to continue to be flexible is yet to be seen, but residents of the city should be careful not to demonize city council after its decision on Mistequay’s property taxes – whether it waives them to help people keep their jobs or doesn’t waive them because the city is drowning financially.

It isn’t an easy decision to make and regardless of council’s choice, someone will be angry.

But who likes making tough decisions over and over again? Who wants to hold the fate of somebody’s job in their hands multiple times in the first six months of the year? Who wants to choose sides when the repercussions aren’t fully clear?

Exactly.

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