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Letter: Trustee Candidate Responds to Sam's Club Statements

Mar 23, 2015 02:00PM ● By Steven Jack

I would like to provide the facts in regards to the Sam’s Club incentive agreement made by the Village of Montgomery that has resulted in approximately $750,000 in sales tax revenue going across the street to Montgomery, instead of Oswego due to a lack of vision and cooperation by several members of the Oswego Village Board.  

Last week, Diane Selmer, candidate for Oswego Village Trustee, asserted in a letter to the editor that incentives did not play a part in Sam’s Club’s decision to build their store in Montgomery.

Ms. Selmer neglected to inform readers that Sam’s Club did receive incentives from the Village of Montgomery.

As reported in the local media, the Montgomery Village Board approved an incentive agreement in 2013 to secure the development of a Sam's Club store in the Village.  Board members passed the $7.5 million agreement with Sam's Club West, Inc., owners of the chain of warehouse stores.  Under terms of the agreement, the Village will reimburse 75 percent of the sales tax revenues generated by the store to Sam's Club West until $7.5 million is rebated or Aug. 15, 2028. Sam's Club West will, in turn, use the revenues to construct the store and to make other improvements at the store site.  

Jeff Zoephel, who at the time was the Village's Finance Director and Acting Village Administrator, told board members, that he estimated the store will generate 150 to 180 jobs, and about $750,000 in sales tax revenues during its first year of operation. Under the agreement, Zoephel said the village will retain 25 percent or $187,500, while the remaining 75 percent or $562,500 will be reimbursed to Sam's Club West.  Zoephel noted the “Montgomery Village Board has approved an incentive agreement to secure the development of a Sam's Club store in the village.” 

In her letter to the editor, Ms. Selmer failed to mention the incentive agreement. In addition, the facts clearly contradict her assertion that incentives played no part in the decision by Sam’s Club to open a store in Montgomery.  Does anyone (other than Ms, Selmer) really believe that the $7.5 million incentive agreement played “no part” at all in their decision?  No part at all?  

There was a time, just a few years ago, when Oswego was the one attracting the major retail anchors.  Stores such as Meijer, Home Depot, Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.  

Please vote on April 7 for the candidates that are going to work to generate more sales tax revenues for Oswego.  Those candidates are Gail Johnson, Joe West, Karin McCarthy-Lange and Ryan Kaufman. 

Joe West, Candidate for Oswego Village Trustee