Thursday, June 14, 2012

Unelected Wyoming committee abuses taxpayers

Last month the Wyoming City Council approved the final piece of an expensive and controversial sweetheart deal that awards over $700,000 of taxpayer resources to help someone open a restaurant.  It passed 6-1, with Councilman Vicky Zwissler the only No vote.  COAST wrote a same-night report after this vote, and prior to the vote we had encouraged Council to do the right thing and oppose this terrible abuse of the taxpayer.  

This bad deal: 1) gives away a property valued at $443,000 to the developer Dino DiStasi; 2) gives away an additional subsidy of $270,000 to the developer; and 3) gives away a piece of the adjacent city park to the developer.  All this to add another restaurant (like there's a shortage of them), at which the developer hopes to create a whopping 25 restaurant jobs.  For a subsidy of this magnitude, one should be opening a large office complex.

One overlooked item that should deeply concern Wyoming taxpayers - most of this deal was negotiated and approved by an unelected committee and not their elected Council.  It is the Wyoming Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) that gave away this property.  It is the CIC that gave away the $270,000.  Shouldn't City Council be making these decisions?  Council's only vote was to approve the final piece of the deal, the parkland giveaway.

The CIC has bungled this piece of property and this restaurant deal from beginning to end.  The CIC's first mistake was purchasing this property in 2008 without a clue in the world as to what to do with it.  Would any competent organization purchase an expensive property without any plan to utilize it?  The CIC did.  It only got worse from there. 

According to the May 2012 Word on Wyoming newsletter and January 2012 City Council Committee of the Whole minutes, city Commissars determined that the location should be a restaurant.  Nevermind that several restaurants had already existed there and all failed, and that no other restaurant owner was willing to build a new one there without significant taxpayer subsidy.  Consumers don't want a restaurant there and restaurant owners don't want to build one there, but the government central planners know better and will spend limitless taxpayer funds to get their way.

The best way to generate economic development at this (or any) location is to recruit as wide a range of businesses as possible.  Instead of pursuing this common sense approach, the city refused to consider any idea that wasn't a restaurant.  Then the city commissars complained about the lack of quality proposals as a reason to approve this deal. 

In other words, the city arbitrarily slammed the door shut on every workable possibility, then cited the lack of good proposals as an excuse to blow nearly $800,000 of taxpayer resources.  It's like killing your parents, then claiming the orphan defense. 

The gross incompetence of the CIC has cost Wyoming taxpayers a significant amount of limited taxpayer funds.  Taxpayers should ask their Council why they refuse to do the job they were elected to do.  Currently the Wyoming City Council only meets once per month.  After this fiasco, they should: 1) abolish the CIC; 2) meet twice per month; 3) use the extra time to do their own jobs for a change. 

1 comment:

  1. Will they be serving alcoholic beverages?


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