Print September 16, 2014

Taxation Without Representation for Garden City Business Owners

by BandWagon Magazine

Letter to the Editor:

From Mike Schwartz, Local Business Owner// A.F Ray’s

Tuesday, July 15th will be a day that will live in infamy for the small town of Garden City.  Mayor Brian Seifried officially resigned at the town hall meeting on Tuesday leaving the business owners of the tiny town wondering what the future holds. Mayor Seifried (the owner of the Wing Shack) represented the only voice of the local business community to be involved with Garden City politics. He was the only businessman to reside within the geographically small town and therefore the only shop owner to be eligible to run for office.

The small township of just under a square mile is wedged just south of Greeley and north of Evans. With around 300 residents and over 60 businesses, Garden City has a unique situation when it comes to taxes. Without an abundance of necessary services to provide to its residents (schools, fire department etc…), Garden City finds itself with more tax revenue than ever. These “profits” have more than doubled since the addition of medical and now retail marijuana shops.

Councilman Clarence Krieger enacted an initiative on the 15th of July to have Seifried removed from the office of Mayor. He cited that since Mayor Seifried moved his primary residence to Greeley about a month ago, that he was no longer eligible to be mayor. Seifried claims that he still owns a property in Garden City that he considers to be his second home. With just under two years remaining in his term, the city council had a difficult time determining whether or not Mayor Seifried’s remaining term would be legal under current Garden City law.

It was determined that since the board wasn’t sure what to do, the matter would be taken to court for a judge to interpret the legality of the issue. This was motioned, seconded, and approved. In a shocking move, Seifried simply resigned from his post as mayor. He stated that he loved Garden City so much, that he didn’t want to go to battle or cost the town any money fighting the matter in court. In a very noble move, his love and passion for the small town he had given so much to, outweighed his own political career.

Unfortunately, the way that the current law is written, a citizen of Garden City is prequalified to run for office with no more of a skill set then a signed rental lease. With less houses in Garden City than businesses, this hardly seems fair. Not a single business owner in Garden City actually lives within the town limits. Not due to a lack of desire, but because of the extremely limited availability of housing.

Because of the small geographic area, and large sales tax base, this poses a unique and frustrating situation for hard working business owners of Garden City. They are providing the majority of the revenue for the town, and have no say in how the elected officials decide to spend it. The business owners don’t even have a vote in the elections, so there is literally no representation for their tax dollars contributed.

Mayor Brian Seifried was the beacon of hope for the Garden City business community. With plans to revamp 8th avenue, and an active supporting role in the local business association, Mayor Seifried was a true executive leader and a model of civic pride. Mr. Seifried plans to play a more active role in the Garden City Business Association, spend more time with family, and work on his Wing Shack brand.


Leave a comment