Editorial: Costco is leveraging Carson-Douglas rivalry
How long are Carson City and Douglas County going to let companies pit them against each other to get the best deal on land, highway access and other goodies that generally come out of the taxpayers’ pocket?
The current discussion over Costco’s designs on Fuji Park – on the Carson City side of the line – remind us sharply of discussions that have been going on for a half-dozen years with a variety of giant retail stores.
Douglas County manages – in the words of Mayor Ray Masayko – “some creativity in the use of redevelopment law” to land Target and Home Depot on its side of line.
So Carson City comes back, appearing as eager as a lap dog, to make an even better deal with Costco, the same company that has played Douglas and Carson against each other before.
Carson City and Douglas County are fearful they will lose sales-tax revenue to the other. Supervisor Pete Livermore talks about the potential loss of $100 million a year in taxable sales to a combination of Target, Home Depot and Costco.
In the meantime, the elected officials on both sides of the county line play a game of one-upmanship instead of sitting down for an agreement, which should have been done years ago, not to let private companies come between them.
Douglas and Carson should establish an overlapping development district or enterprise zone that covers the much-coveted area from the base of Spooner Summit to Jacks Valley Road, decide how they will share sales tax and property taxes.
Move into negotiations with private companies from a position of forethought and strength, Carson and Douglas. Don’t let them play you for suckers.
Masayko was absolutely right Thursday when he laid out a series of questions that have not been answered, including the effect of a Costco deal on the school district’s tax base, the apparent bending of redevelopment law to fit private enterprise’s whims, and the lack of any plan to replace Fuji Park for the residents of Carson City.
He was also on point when he noted that Carson City has no commitment from Costco. Carson City can jump through all the hoops it wants, and there’s nothing to keep the company from heading right across that county line to seek a better deal. In fact, that’s what Costco is doing right now to landowners in Douglas County in negotiating with Carson City.
Critics of the Costco deal may feel like they’re spitting into the wind. In a week or two, though, the wind may be blowing south.