Disagreement on proposed community market
There as some disagreement among the El Dorado City Commission on the need for a proposed community market.
Commissioner Bill Young asked for an update on the issue during Monday's commission meeting. The market was being discussed to be located in the old Home Lumber building.
City Manager Herb Llewellyn told them it was in the 2015 budget and is a sales tax item.
"We have been working with the owner on the purchase of it," Llewellyn said. "We have an option prepared to sign. We wanted to see if the budget passed and if is was something you were still interested in."
Mayor Mike Fagg said he had not talked to one person in favor of a community market.
"Are we in favor of it?" he asked.
Commissioner Chase Locke said he had only heard people in favor of it.
Fagg's concern was he thought the city owned too much property and they shouldn't be buying more.
Commissioner David Chapin was unsure on the issue.
"I am not for sure it is the best idea in the world," he said. "I kind of hate when government takes over private business, or doesn't take it over but steers it in certain directions. It kind of scares me a little bit."
Fagg pointed out they had three yeses for it, one maybe and one no on the commission.
"Once I understand it I may be more for it," Chapin said. "I'm just concerned when government takes more and more and starts providing space for business. I don't know that's what the United States is all about."
He pointed out it also will cut down on vendors setting up on tax payers' properties.
"Those people may not be able to because of future laws that come down," he said. "Free enterprise is what built America. We saw what happened with Russia running business. It's not that it's not a good idea. It's a great place to provide something. Whether or not it's viable, should we subsidize buildings to provide fresher fruits than Dillons? Should we subsidize a building that provides fresher fruits than Walmart? Should we put it to them? It's not the way I feel, but it's a way to look at it. It's a fine line when government starts entering into business."
Young replied, "While I don't disagree with the bulk of what you said, I don't want to compare the concept of opening a community market to communist Russia."
"It may be a bit of a stretch," Chapin said.
"To me it's a quality of life thing," added Commissioner Nick Badwey.
Locke had another perspective.
"We're trying to recruit and keep younger people in this area," he said. "When originally the idea came up from reading community features that attract young people to a community and that is one of them. I think we need to be putting more effort to make some features that are appealing to young people because right now we have a problem keeping them and we sure aren't recruiting them."
Chapin said one part of his concern was because of how they beat up street vendors at the last meeting, referring to the discussion on how street vendors hurt business for those who have a store in town and have to have overhead and pay taxes.
"Yet, we as a city are getting ready to do the same thing because we control it," he said.
Chapin said they could sell purses there one month, fruit another, etc.
"I'm playing both sides of this coin," he said. "This open air market, it stems from Europe. Being able to walk through this little shop and that little shop. It's the way it used to be way back when. I just want to make sure you guys understand where you're going because Dillons isn't going to like it on fruit day, John K. Fisher isn't going to like it on car day. Is it a good idea? In a lot of aspects it is. The reality of it is there is always a great idea."
He questioned if the idea of the market would be good or if it would be great in the beginning then fall by the wayside.
"I like what you said on free enterprise, less government," Fagg said. "This is about money too. We're with a community where half the people live on free lunches at school. There is only so much you can handle."
No decisions were made on the market Monday evening.