Frisco economic study "targets’ what to do, or not do, about Wal-Mart
Frisco elected officials have initiated an economic development study, and with good reason. Sales taxes generated by the town’s biggest source, Wal-Mart, are threatened by a new Target store in Silverthorne.
On top of that threat, sales taxes are flat and may pretty much stay that way even if Target weren’t coming. Shoppers, that’s in March 2003, by the way. Target fans, and there are many, will no longer have to go to West Colfax Avenue in Denver or stop in Grand Junction on their way back from the desert.
Yes, Frisco has much to fear from Target.
Last week, consultants conducted focus groups composed of town business people to gauge local opinions.
The range of opinions shows the town has important decisions to make. The biggest is how to make do with less if the local will is to prevent a Wal-Mart Supercenter, or another big box, to locate on the town-owned 10 acres behind Safeway.
Some people think Frisco should let Wal-Mart survive in its current store, which the company thinks is undersized by today’s standards. If Wal-Mart leaves, so be it. The town will have to cut back and live on less. Believe it or not, that opinion is alive in the land.
On the other hand, others think employee housing is the most pressing economic need. Others believe the town needs a skating rink, or a meeting facility.
Still others don’t want any new taxes. In Frisco, that would have to mean a property tax. The current minuscule property tax, worth about $190,000 a year, is being rebated.
Everybody knows Frisco can’t have it both ways – housing, recreational and tourism amenities – without paying for them somehow.
The only prediction we can make is this: It will be decided at the ballot box. If the plan is to put another big box, especially a Wal-Mart supercenter, on the 10 acres, Frisco will see another citizens initiative. Resident David Cunningham has already guaranteed it.
If it comes down to paying for new amenities with debt backed by property or other taxes, that, too, will be a vote, by law.
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