JUNE 25, 2010
Burger King closure should send a message

To the Editor:

Employees of the Burger King Restaurant were told this past Friday that the store will be closing it's doors promptly at 8pm on the 23rd of June. The last order was taken just prior to 8pm and the "CLOSED" sign was then posted on the outside marquee. Employees are hopeful they will be able to find jobs elsewhere. 

"The economy is tough and there isn't much out there!", one employee stated after putting up the closed sign. 

This Burger King has been in operation for almost 30 years and apparently fell victim to an economic downturn in the local market. Goffstown has seen a high share of business loss in the past several months. Jutras Signs moved to Bedford in a move to keep a strong bottom line. Travers Restaurant in the Village recently closed it's doors. The small boutique next to the bridge in the Village has a going out of business sign posted. The Everything for a Dollar store closed in the Village late last fall. ATA, Black Belt Academy closed it's doors about four months ago. 

Is there a message here? Somebody, and likely "many", in Town Hall either can't see it or can't comprehend it, or even perhaps are looking the other way because they don't want to face the reality of an unpopular subject.

At last night's Economic Development Council Meeting, discussions were taken up about providing tax breaks for businesses who would make improvements to their commercial property.  What is the motive here?  Is this a true incentive for a business owner?  Let's take the backdoor route to arrive at this answer. 

The ultimate goal for the Town here is to offer a tax break to a business owner while selling the point of improving the appearance of the property.  Why?  Let's be honest, will you as a shopper cater more to a business who put up new shutters and new paint next week?  Very doubtful, and this is simply hogwash!  Any business operates primarily on the fact that "Value" and "Reputation" will lead to sustained profitability and not whether sales would increase because a new roof or siding is in place. 

It is my feeling that the ultimate goal here of those in Town Hall is to specifically get higher tax payments from each and every business owner after a tax incentive, in the following tax cycle because of a higher property assessment of which, our Selectmen know, will occur right after improvements are made.  Bingo!  So who is helping who? 

The Town's scheme is to simply get more money from business owners, and it's as clear and simple as that!  If there was ever a proper time to use the phrase "screw you Mr. Business Owner", this is it! 

What Goffstown needs to do is put out a "This Town Is Open For Your Business" sign and stop trying to focus on the almighty dollar through schemes.  No one at Town Hall appears to be thinking out of the box with any sensible measures. 

Helloooooooo, we are losing our businesses folks! 

What about this? For the next 3 years, offer a graduated incentive to any new business in Town who buys the property they will set up shop in by reducing the tax liability in year one by 30%, year two by 15% and year three by 5%.  Now for those who are in business and are struggling, bring the prior year end certified financial statement and the matching tax return to Town Hall and fill out a one page application.  Yes, just one page!  If a business is operating at a loss, and the business owns the property it functions out of, use the same incentive table above. It's a simple process even clerical staff could handle in just a few minutes. 

Now if only the Building Department could operate like Manchester does, Goffstown would be a much friendlier place to consider locating a business to.  For example, an application is submitted to the building department by a business, or anyone for that matter, and it goes through a technical review process which is very in depth.  This way, when the Planning Board gets the application, almost every answer is already in place. 

Developers have turned away from coming to Goffstown because many feel it's almost impossible to get a plan approved, and some have had applications which have taken years and thousands of dollars in unanticipated expenses and are then quite often "conditionally" approved.  It's just too costly and time consuming for everyone involved, so developers look elsewhere.  Quite frankly, I doubt any Planning Board Member would disagree with this thought.

If I had my way, Robbie Grady would be Mayor, Guy Caron Vice-Mayor, I'd find a way to eliminate the school board and privatize the schools, the Fire and Police Departments, and outsource the Public Works Department (no more union contracts to deal with) and as much else as possible, and then rent out the other half of Town Hall to a business that knows Quality Service and Reputation are what builds a strong business leading to profitability, and then send the rental income to the local Food Pantry.  Oh, and put a sign at every road into town that says "Welcome to Goffstown, a community that wants your business and family.  Quality of Life is what Goffstown is all about". 

If this Town began catering to business owners and developers with the same vigor it builds round-a-bouts, our residential tax rate would likely go down by 50% overnight. 

That's my take.

Bill Wynne


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