It was just a week ago that the dirty Dix deal was finalized. Since then we’ve learned that there are even more unanswered questions that would have warranted more deliberate consideration before sealing this deal.
Here’s what we know:
Under Bev Perdue’s final days as governor, she pushed through a deal that leased away the state-owned since the 1850s Dorthea Dix property, 334 acres prime Raleigh real estate and home to state hospital for the mentally ill to the City of Raleigh for a “destination” park.
Both republican members of the Council of State voted no; all democratic members but one voted no; state Auditor Beth Woods abstained.
Raleigh City Council approved the deal 7-1. Republican John Odom voted against.
Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said he will evaluate legal options to terminate the lease and undo the deal.
Here’s what no one is sure about:
The value of the land. Appraisals are based upon “extraordinary assumptions regarding a full rebound of the market” Estimates range from $58M to $86M.
The value of the lease deal, although a memo from NCGA staff says “adjusted for inflation and other factors, the combined payments over 75 years would be equal to $22.6 million in present-day dollars. That’s less than recent appraisals of the property”.
How long the state will lease back buildings for DHHS offices or which ones they will lease or what the terms of those leases will be.
How much, if anything, will go to help mentally ill, but Attorney General Roy Cooper (who voted for the deal) said whatever it is, it won’t even put a dent in addressing the needs of the mentally ill in NC.
How much the park will cost the taxpayers of Raleigh. A private group has pledged $3M to create a master plan. No word on who will pay for additional planning, converting the property to a park, building infrastructure and maintenance for the life of the park. Wanna bet it will be Raleigh taxpayers?
If there are any hazardous materials on the property that would require a major clean-up.
We’ll never know how much revenue the state (i.e. taxpayers) would have realized had they sold the property but we do know that the estimated 2011 ad valorem taxes would have been $1,666,108 and likely would have increased annually.
If there is any legal recourse. Sen. Phil Berger intends to explore ways to undo the deal. According to an appraisal report on the property, it lies within the Centennial Campus/Dorthea Dix Small Area Plan, which states “The future of the Dorthea Dix Campus will be determined by the NC state legislature”