While the Mayor and the Fayetteville City Council are “up in arms” about contributing 7.5 Million in city money to the planned Civil War Museum, these same politicians are poised to give another 1.4 Million tax dollars to Prince Charles Holdings for a parking deck that the citizens of Fayetteville won’t get to use.
If you have missed this blog for the past few years, here’s a refresher:
P.C.H. is building a parking deck right now. They are behind schedule. We (the city) are buying the deck from P.C.H. “at cost” once it’s finally finished. After we buy the deck from P.C.H., we are obligated to lease most of the spaces in the deck to P.C.H. for 15 year terms for a really cheap price. It seems strange, right? Why would we buy the deck from P.C.H. just to lease it back to P.C.H.??? Well, it’s called an “economic development incentive.” Instead of giving P.C.H. cash (which is unconstitutional), we are being creative and “economically encouraging” P.C.H. to invest downtown by allowing them to make money off of a parking deck exchange. Presumably, this passes constitutional and legal muster, although many, including yours truly, disagree.
Now, the cost of the deck has risen, again. P.C.H. is falling on hard times, again. Taxpayers need to bail them out, again.
The City Council will vote to give P.C.H. the money at the upcoming meeting on November 25. Perfect timing, now that the election is over.
The cost of the Prince Charles parking deck has now more than doubled the entire cost of the City’s expected contribution to the Civil War Museum. At least the public will get to go use the museum, and with the rate of construction on Hay Street, the museum will probably be completed long before we ever see a Hyatt Hotel in downtown Fayetteville.
By the way, we’re not even borrowing this money in the form of bonds. (That was the original plan). This “extra” money that we have gladly used to line P.C.H.’s pockets is being taken from the general fund, away from important “city” obligations (loose leaf pickup, police, fire, parks, speed bumps, etc.).
This thing is beyond ridiculous.
It’s honestly starting to feel like we’re being scammed, and the frustrating part is that our City government is complicit. Simply wait until after the municipal elections, then throw another 1.4 Million Dollars at our new “business partners,” even though we have a completely enforceable contract price of
$14,845,000 $16,345,000 already.
Here’s exactly what will happen at the upcoming meeting: all of the council members and the Mayor will express “grave concerns” about giving P.C.H. the additional funds. They will post-pone the vote a few weeks seeking “assurances” that Fayetteville will “recoup its investment” over time.
A few weeks later, they will vote to give them the money.
It’s happened before.
When they ask for more money in a few months, I’ll change some numbers around and re-post this article.
UPDATE – NOVEMBER 25
Tonight, the City Council and the Mayor unanimously voted to give our development partners the money. They claim it is for “SOFT COSTS” that the City is obligated to pay under its contract with the developers.
The developers have already breached the contract in two ways:
- The original price went up 1.5 million several months ago; and
- The deck was supposed to be completed October 1. It isn’t finished.
City Leadership hasn’t seemed to mind either breach.
But I hope you will sleep at night knowing that you, as a taxpayer, honored your end of this deal.
Maybe you’ll get to park in the deck one day.