POCATELLO – The Interim CEO of Bannock Development Corp. says the opportunistic price hike has gone up in contrast to exorbitant property taxes that have hampered economic development in the Gate City.
Contrary to what Teresa McKnight, CEO of Regional Economic Development for East Idaho, or REDI, told Pocatello City Council during a quarterly update last month, it is not high property taxes, but potential sellers that make the value of their serviced properties increase massively As the major obstacle to growth in Gate City, Jim Johnston, interim CEO of Bannock Development Corp., told Pocatello City Council during a working meeting at City Hall earlier this month.
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"On July 24th, we had a site visit from a company that was looking at some wonderful places," Johnston said on December 10th to the city council. (The sellers) originally wanted $ 2,000 an acre for this property, but when this company showed an interest in it, they shot that price up to $ 40,000 an acre. Now it is not our tax structure that is keeping people from coming. It's greed and things like that that keep us from being as competitive as we need to be. "
While Johnston said he had only encountered the one situation where a landowner opportunistically raised the price of his property after a potential buyer showed interest, he noted that he had only been the interim CEO of Bannock Development Corp since August . , adding that he was aware of other cases of price increases in the past.
A local “greed factor” in particular is the region's biggest growth disadvantage, added Johnston, who will remain the interim CEO of Bannock Development Corp until December 31st. At that time, Washington Transplant MiaCate Kennedy I will become the next CEO and President.
"It's a sad day when we take people into town and they are given a price, and when they show interest, the price goes up," said Johnston. “This greed factor is more than anything else an obstacle to economic development. When people get greedy, it really slows us down. "
Johnston, who is also a broker at Keller Associates in Pocatello, says one of his colleagues, Don Zebe, a commercial real estate developer at Colliers International in Pocatello, has seen very similar situations.
Zebe said Tuesday that it isn't necessarily greedy price hikes that turn away potential trading ventures in the Gate City area, but rather sellers who rely on uneducated experts to help guide property prices.
"When it comes to price hike claims, I often see people relying on non-experts to determine the pricing of their property," said Zebe. “I turned down several listing options because the seller was unrealistic when asked for a price. Rather than consulting an expert, sellers try to base their prices on information they received from, for example, a brother-in-law who was a banker or someone else who arbitrarily says they know best. Sellers rely on their own determination of the value of their property, not reality, and this has led to unrealistic expectations. "
Zebe described McKnight's comments on high property taxes, which do not stimulate growth in Bannock County, as "an exaggeration of the facts." According to his personal experience, the greatest motivating factor for a company when choosing a location is not the applicable tax structure, but the ease of doing business in the region.
"We don't have the highest taxes in the state and making such a blanket declaration was inappropriate," said Zebe. “If a company is to make a decision in a community, the taxes it would pay are not a requirement for doing business here – ease of doing business in the community is. It's the welcoming demeanor of the city or county staff who deal with the development arms of these companies and how they build relationships. That’s the key. "
Zebe agreed with advice McKnight gave to Pocatello City Council last month, as the region would benefit greatly from an analysis of the various bureaucratic bureaucracies developers must endure when moving to the region. In particular, Zebe believes the lack of a single comprehensive development plan for northern Bannock Counties, Chubbuck and Pocatello has baffled people looking to develop commercial real estate in the area.
"I'm no longer framing a development project that I'm talking about taking place in Chubbuck or Pocatello. It really is the 'Portneuf Valley," "said Zebe. “The problem is that in our region we have two or three communities where there was no master plan collaboration, which has created confusion. When one group says they are planning a huge tech park in Pocatello and another group in Chubbuck says the same thing, it doesn't instill any real confidence in potential developers. "
Johnston doesn't deny that Pocatello property taxes are high, but did point out that the high property taxes come with high levels of services that greatly improve the quality of life in Southeast Idaho, including a robust public transportation system, a free public one Library and an extensive system of paths and sidewalks in and around the city.
"We have so many things that are so desirable in this region," said Johnston. "I just think we have to emphasize the positives."