Duluth city administrations have for years encouraged unfair and discriminatory policies which include defining an area that would be used to assess a fee to businesses that met parameters established by the city. The fees would be used to keep the streets safer and cleaner and would help the businesses attract customers because the streets and the people on the streets would be more conducive to customers.
Unfortunately, the services that were to be provided were not equally spread across the area which supplied the funds. The Canal Park area and Superior Street area received more of the focus of the purported service. The further up the hill to the second street boundary the business is, the less service is received.
The Problem on First Street article indicates that the original services as proposed are not meeting the goals established for the service. In my opinion, the city should not have imposed this fee; once passed, it should have been evenly applied across the supporting area, instead of favoring the Canal Park and Superior Street, tourist intensive areas. It is another in a long, long list of decisions that city administrations have made that impose an increasingly punitive burden on businesses, especially, small businesses.
Those decisions also impact the average tax-paying citizen because they use those tax dollars to support less than optimal effectiveness of the use of those dollars. Taxpayers support of the Aquarium, Spirit Mtn, tax increment financing, DEDA, bike lanes, hiking trails, and on and on.
Real Estate agents in Duluth have stated that they personally know of companies and people who were interested in buying and investing in the Duluth area but have not because of the lack of a friendly regulatory and business environment. The citizens of Duluth will continue to see this lack of sound decisions if they vote for candidates whose primary goal is to help those who want a free ride and others who can influence city policymakers to help them at the expense of the taxpayers.