City shouldn’t depend on these new revenue sources

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Mayor Ralph’s commentary printed Sunday, Aug 15, was quite interesting.

He made a point that &uot;the city cannot meet its current or future need simply by relying on our real estate tax revenue.

We must develop other revenue sources to help pay for the growing needs of a growing city.

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Mayor Ralph goes on to say it is partnerships like the hotel and the cultural arts center that generate additional revenue to pay for services to benefit all citizens and allow the City to be less reliant on the real estate tax revenue.&uot;

Let‚s examine how this is going to happen:

On Jul 21, 2004 the city council voted to approve to transfer the Old Suffolk High School and immediate adjacent property to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Limited Partners for the sole purpose of renovation and re-use as a Cultural Arts Center.

Let me rethink the logic here:

Suffolk gives away real property and real estate, how is this going to benefit all citizens and create a stream of revenue?

The only stream of revenue that will be created is for the Limited Partners who remain anonymous.

Is the revenue stream going to be created when the City of Suffolk rents the Cultural Arts Center back from the Limited Partners after its completion?

Then we will get a small trickle of revenue from the taxes the Limited Partners pay while the City pays the equivalent of the Black Water River at Flood Stage for rent.

How long is it going to take the city to recoup the generous gift (between $200,000 and $249,000) the Industrial Development Authority of Suffolk gave to save the old Suffolk High School?

Then there is the $4.8 million in the Capital Improvements Budget for the Center for Cultural Arts that is the same project.

And what about the hidden costs for the project that appear in different department budgets of the city:

Parks & Recreation has budgeted $50,000 to tear down the Print Shop and $150,000 to demolish Birdsong Recreation Center to make way for the Cultural Arts Center; Public Works budget has $400,000 for the Finney Avenue extension to provide a formal entrance and access to the Center for the Cultural Arts.

A quick calculation takes this small public/private partnership up to $5,649,000!

Most of the current residents of Suffolk won’t live long enough to see any return on this investment.

Once again, our city leaders open the public coffers and dump in our tax money.

This will continue forever unless the citizens of Suffolk vote for responsible leadership!

You and I deserve better representation and it’s our fault if we don’t get it.

Everett Revell