Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just plain dishonest

GREENSBORO, NC -- I like the idea of a performing arts center downtown, I don't like that the location at the top of the list of the citizens' task force (the YWCA site) is being rejected in favor of another location and justified with suspect explanations.

Start with the math: The City says the proposed site, while $10 million more costly than the YWCA site, will offer more income from 250 VIP parking spaces. Their published projections assumed those would be 100% occupied at each event and that there would be 180 events per year -- a figure they originally attributed to a consultant's study. That was false. The consultant's study, as the City now admits, anticipated 149 events per year. The City explains the "error" by saying they "blended" (their word) the consultant's number with a projection of 220 events made by city staff. That 220, however, includes 50 rehearsal and load-in days, events for which there will be no audiences to pay for VIP parking.

Can we not, as a City, approach this decision with honesty? If this parking revenue falls short, taxpayers will be on the hook to make up the shortfall.

That's not all. Not included in the City's calculations of "increased" parking revenue at the proposed site are things that will deduct from that revenue:

1. Loss of revenues from the property taxes currently collected on those properties when they become public property.
2. Loss of revenues from the city-owned parking spaces currently on that block.
3. I'm not sure, but I can't seem to find that their calculations include demolition of the buildings on the property.
4. The cost of tearing down the War Memorial Stadium (which the City relies on in their projections to force events to the new GPAC).

Finally,  who are the stockholders of the corporate entities from which the City will be buying the properties? Council agenda items often include detail about the people behind the corporations with whom the City is being asked to do business. There is no such list attached to the proposal to purchase the corporate-owned properties at the proposed location.

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