The city council and other officials recently focused on the millions of dollars sitting in the cityís Quality Growth Fund, thanks to one North Platte woman who asked for $50,000 of it.
As we reported early this month, Clarine Eickoff, who manages the Platte River Mall, wanted a $50,000 grant, so the mall could offer incentive to a clothing company that said it might take in $1 million a year in sales if it decides to open a store at the mall.
The council didnít grant the money, but Eickoff made everyone think about the situation. She read the rules and discovered that the city council should make such decisions, not a citizenís advisory committee that has heretofore wrongly had the responsibility.
In turning aside Eickoff's request, the council did the right thing, but they need to tell North Platte Chamber and Development Director Dan Mauk to let everyone know that the procedure has changed.
The council should decide to offer the incentive, or not, after hearing the recommendation of the citizenís advisory committee.
Mauk should tell the council what that committee recommends, or simply introduce its chairman to the council and let him or her give the report.
More specifically to Eickoff's request: Hardly a great idea.
If a ďlargeĒ chain retailer wants to come to North Platte, and the mall wants them, the mall owners should offer an incentive, not the taxpayers. The mall is in the business of bringing retailers within its walls, and keeping them there. That is not the business of the taxpayers.
Business is always risky, but the game is unfairly rigged if one retailer receives tax money to help enter the marketplace where it competes with companies that didnít get tax incentives.
Ma/pa small businesses create jobs in North Platte and all over the country, and seldom ask local taxpayers for grants and incentives.
Small businesses in North Platte often readily donate to civic projects -- softball, baseball and football teams; little league, proms, medical fundraisers and school projects of all kinds.
Large chain companies donate only sometimes, usually after forming a committee to consider the applications.
Most small businesses in this town are extremely generous to the community. Respecting them, and the taxpayers, is the respectable thing to do.