To The Ukiah City Council
Our City Manager fantasizes that a Big Costco Box will bring in great sales tax receipts and that the city will be able to pay off its indebtedness from the RDA fiasco, as well as new loans to build $6.2 million worth of access roads to Costco. This, they hope, will put the City on a sound financial footing. But there are a few problems with living in such a fantasy world:
There is no need for Costco: Ukiah people are not under-dressed nor poorly fed for lack of another big box discount store. We already have plenty of clothing stores, food emporiums, gasoline stations, and drug stores to meet our needs.
There is no money to build the new highway 101 interchange: The State Finance Department has said that the City Council cannot use revenue from the 2011 RDA bond nor from the expected sale of 15 acres to Costco to develop roads and interchanges needed to funnel shoppers into Big Box parking lots. Show us the money!
There is no adequate plan for the proposed interchange: The traffic engineers from Smith Engineering consider the traffic impact study conjured up by the City with GHD Inc. to be merely a “cartoon”, not a real design. CalTrans has not yet approved this undersized traffic circle.
Walmart is expected to re-apply for their superstore: This will make any interchange intended only for Costco traffic to be a fraction the needed capacity for shoppers converging on two Big Boxes. Thus the Traffic Plan will have to be done all over again and another tooth fairy found to pay for it.
No debt repayment plan: The City Council has not produced a Cash Flow analysis. It is highly unlikely that the revenues expected from sales taxes at Costco will be enough to pay off the old RDA bonds and the new loans the City hopes to get from “I-Bank” or other sources. If City Staff already has the funds, why don’t they tell us about their good fortune?
No new jobs will be forthcoming: Many studies of big box impacts have shown that every new job in a Big Box merely reduces employment in the existing smaller local enterprises. Costco is notorious for having no sales help and no signs to direct you around their huge warehouse. In our local stores we do get personal attention.
Impact upon existing businesses will be devastating: The City Council’s staff appear to have an irrational faith that more sale taxes can be sucked out of our local citizens at a time when the whole economy is slouching towards another major recession. After all, we have only so many shoppers in the area and they’re not getting any richer.