Not long ago, Carson City’s supervisors and Douglas County’s commissioners agreed to work together in planning for development of the Highway 395 corridor between Highway 50 and Jacks Valley Road, which is bisected by the county line.
The agreement made sense for both counties, the leaders said, because the area will be developed soon, and cooperation would mean lower costs and fewer battles over merchants, plus the chance to do a good job of planning the actual development.
Why, then, are Carson City supervisors trying to lure Wal-Mart away from Douglas?
The retailer announced plans in February to relocate from south Carson to north Douglas due to a pre-existing agreement that prevents it from selling groceries at its current Carson City location. Rumor had it that company executives also weren’t too pleased that a competitor – Costco – got red-carpet treatment from Carson City in the form of special incentives that meant bypassing the public bid process for what was then city property and a quicker trip through the permitting process.
Carson officials have apparently decided to make it up by offering Fuji Park to Wal-Mart, which is barely on Carson’s side of the line, for a store site.
No one faults city officials for trying to keep a store that puts $1 million a year in sales taxes into public coffers, but does their word mean nothing? They agreed to work with Douglas County. Trying to steal Wal-Mart is not working with Douglas County.
Douglas commissioners are right to suspect the agreement with Carson is dead. If this is Carson’s way of working with Douglas, Douglas officials would be better off alone, applying the same fastidious standards that are leading to what will be a strong, well-planned economic base on the Douglas side of the county line.