Why rent when you can own?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 1, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

I wonder who taught the people who run our city that it is cheaper to rent than to buy?

I attended the last City Council meeting and asked if we were renting or did we own the building to which the staff proposed moving the Voter Registrar’s office. I never got an answer.

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The staff seemed reluctant to be forthcoming. I know now we are renting the building at 425 W. Washington St. and have met the owner. Why all the secrecy? Our government should be open and deals that will not stand the light of public scrutiny should not be entered into.

I also spoke at the council meeting about the old Suffolk High School. This project is becoming a very large hole into which the city is throwing a lot of taxpayer money. It started out going to cost us only $1 million, of which the committee would raise half, or $500,000.

The project has received, or is budgeted for, over $5 million. Today’s paper reports that it may go as high as $16 million. We transferred the title to a group called Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts LP. Who are these partners?

They can raise the rest of the money and let this white elephant go. What upset me was a note at the end of the newspaper article that some city offices might be located there. Does this mean we will pay to rent a building that we owned on Tuesday of the past week but chose to give away Wednesday?

We need a change of leadership in this city to one that will look out for the best interests of the people. We are paying $300,000 rent on the Professional Building; $31,000 rent on the Prentis House; and an unknown amount of rent for the Utility Department at Holland Plaza; and now 425 W. Washing St. I do not believe it is in the best interest of the city to rent buildings which we will need forever.

I’ll bet none of our city leaders rent their homes. Why must we citizens be subject to such short-sighted thinking when it comes to this wasteful use of tax money?

I want this wasteful spending to stop and give everyone in this city a property tax cut and give the extra million you collected last year back.

William H. Harward