The General Assembly’s move to revise the badly flawed Dorothea Dix property lease is a step for realism in state government, where it is badly needed.
Lame-duck Gov. Bev Perdue pushed through the lease last year after she no longer had to fear the voters. It leased the valuable land in Raleigh to the city for 75 years.
Consider the lease price: about $500,000 a year, with slight gains over time. The total payments: $68 million.
An appraisal of the site put its value at up to $86 million. So at its worst, the value of the lease — total till the year 2088 — is less than what the state might get by selling the land outright.
I bought a house last year. I looked at what the mortgage payments total over the lease. That total will be far more than the appraised value. And face the facts that if it’s a park for 75 years, it will remain a park forever. It’s not really a lease, at best it’s a very-long term interest-free loan; at worst, it gives Raleigh millions in addition to offering a no-interest loan for a token amount.
1. The state isn’t so rich it can’t just give stuff away any more. For that’s what it is: for a nominal sum, the city of Raleigh will get a valuable piece of land. North Carolina isn’t as bad off as California, but a sober look at its finances shows it can’t be Santa Claus any more.
2. No more welfare for those that don’t need it — including Raleigh. This deal would benefit the city, but would raid the pocketbooks of people from Asheville to Wilmington.
Needless to say, the GA and the governor still seem addicted to giveaways. But maybe this bill, Senate Bill 334, Dorothea Dix Lease, is a step in the right direction.
3. Opponents make it sound as if the state wants to put up a steel mill and a wood-pulping plant on the site. But the plan is for about 200 acres to be parkland.
As for facing facts, news stories say some of it is on floodplain. Well, read the appraisal, which divides the property into two tracts:
Drainage for both tracts appear to be excellent forthe most part. There are some minor areas of 100-year and 500-year floodplain on the 165 acre tract alongwith potential areas of riparian buffers and minor areas of riparian buffers on the western 169 acre tract.