Another chapter of "Your Taxdollars Hard at Work."
WRAL has a story on how the City of Raleigh spent $1 million fixin’ up one of its downtown buildings so that a high end, white tablecloth restaurant could move in.
Sure seems like a lot of money for the City to be spending. What else could that money been spent on?
How about 166,667 "low flow" shower heads at $6 each — enough for one for every household in Raleigh.
Priorities matter, and the priorities of the Raleigh Mayor and City Council seem to be to spend as much money downtown as possible, the rest of the city be damned.
Another question that needs to be asked is why is the City owning property downtown that could be in the hands of private enterprise? According to Wake County tax records, the City bought the One Exchange Plaza building four years ago for $7.885 million dollars. Is current tax assessment is $14.28 million.
No doubt the asking price would be for more than the tax value, so why not sell the building and practically make a 100% return on investment. (Then return that money to us, the taxpayers, who paid for the building to begin with.)
Since the property is owned by the City, no property tax revenues are collected on it either. Selling it off to private investors would generate an additional $69,000 per year in City property taxes and almost $97,000 in County property taxes (at current tax rates).
Public entities doing what private enterprises can do is bad for taxpayers. Not only did we spend $1 million in corporate welfare for a fancy restaurant, the City could make an additional $8 million selling the property and generate an additional $150,000 in combined property taxes per year.
So just remember this when they start complaining about not having enough money to spend to fulfill their big plans… There’s an opportunity cost to everything government does, money can be spent wiser and more effectively for all citizens. Subsidizing restaurants and keeping property off the tax rolls is not one of them.