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Opinion: RENAISSANCE PROJECT PUT IN PERSPECTIVE

Taxpayers are providing $23,200,000.00 of State, County, and Local tax dollars to build a plethora of expensive building updates to what USED to be Mason City’s downtown. Most refer to it today as “Old Town,” because back in the 80s Federal Avenue was closed and the Southbridge Mall ran most of the “retail’ business’s out of the downtown area.

THERE IS AN ADDITONAL $1,5OO,OOO.OO in Mason City real estate that is not included in the Globe Gazette’s article. This brings the taxpayers amount they are giving away to $24,700,000.00. Pretty sneaky isn’t it.

All the pieces of this project got their inception by jumping through all the hoops necessary to QUALIFY for Iowa tax dollars from the State of Iowa through the Iowa Re-Investment Act. That is why we see so many different projects wrapped up into one massive tax giveaway. With so many moving parts we find many opportunities for failure. Not to mention the long-term exposure of the taxpayers to pay the additional expenses we will occur to operate and maintain the Ice Arena/Multi-Purpose Center, Performing Arts Pavilion, Conference Center, and Skywalk!

HOTEL HAS NO REAL RISK INVOLVED!

TAXPAYERS GIVING ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TO HOTEL DEVELOPER

“We the people” are GIVING AWAY $1,500,000.00 of our real estate that is part of the mall’s parking lot just south of Younkers. This is the collateral that the Hotel Developer is using to secure his financing to build his hotel. It will make no difference to the hotel developer whether the project is successful or not, as he will put about 10% of his project costs in the bank just doing his deal. They won’t tell us that and will disagree with this explanation but that is the way these projects work.

The Ice Arena/Multi-Purpose Center is also fraught with pitfalls. After the taxpayers spend $12,500,000.00 building it, the taxpayers are going to sign a 20-year lease with the Mall Owner for $20,000.00 PER MONTH to lease the space in the current mall we used to know as the Penny’s Store. There are options in the lease so make it 40 years. In today’s world we can’t count on tomorrow let alone 20 to 40 years out.

With the lack of population base and the 100s of current events around Mason City and North Iowa the Multi-Purpose Center will put a negative strain on all of those events. These other events, or the Multi-Purpose Center, are going to suffer!

We come to the Conference Center. A 600-seat addition to Music Man Square that is another area of risk to the taxpayers. We are building that and turning it over to the Hotel so they can create and sell events so they can fill up their 130 or so Hotel rooms. Should that not be a successful venture, once again the taxpayers are on the hook for long term maintenance.

I have covered only the parts of this project that should give us all pause to realize just how much RISK we are putting ourselves in, should we vote this project in. There are many if not dozens of hidden items that we will be responsible for once this is passes. All will raise our property taxes once we commit to this hair brained scheme.

The entire scheme is the result of the Chamber and Political Elitists trying to take advantage of our tax dollars using the Iowa Re-Investment Act. In so doing they are willing to risk anything and everything at the taxpayers’ expense to further what I consider un-attainable results!

Use your head folks not your emotions when going to vote on this monster project.

This WILL RAISE YOUR PROPETY TAXES!

Letter from Mason City citizen


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NOTE: The opinions expressed in letters to the editor are not necessarily those of NorthIowaToday.com.

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