Gentlemen (Dear Commissioners, September 10, 2012) | Beaufort County Now | The Quick Start II building is now offered for sale at $1.5 million. This is $900,000 beneath its construction cost and the loss must be increased to include financing, maintenance and depreciation of the structure due to age. | Beaufort County, Beaufort County Commissioners, Beaufort County EDC, Quick Start II

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Gentlemen (Dear Commissioners, September 10, 2012)

    The Quick Start II building is now offered for sale at $1.5 million. This is $900,000 beneath its construction cost and the loss must be increased to include financing, maintenance and depreciation of the structure due to age.

    Rumor has it that you have only have had one actual bid for the property in five years and that this bid was so low that it was rejected to avoid its becoming an election embarassment for QSII and EDC's supporters now running for election.

    The potential loss to the taxpayers, on this one building, is potentially nearing $1.5 million, yet there is no frank and open discussion of the size of the problem.

    Buyers can only be attracted by an open and above board offering of the property. Secrecy speaks to favoritism and favoritism discourages inquiries from honest buyers.

    In fairness to the taxpayers, the building should be widely advertized in commercial real estate journals and in the newspapers of Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington. The rejected price should be published, in order to alert buyers as to what pricing is seen as being to low. The county commissioners need to put the best interest of the taxpayers ahead of their own. This mess has been created because the county and city leadership has refused to keep the public informed of the disengenuous machinations of the county's development lobby. Closed meetings, favored relationships and secret negotiations have been the bane of this process. Far too much has been tolerated for far too long. It is time for full disclosure and open dissemination of information.

    Regards,

    Warren Smith


Quotation of the Day...

    ... is from page 15 of Thomas Sowell's 1979 essay "Adam Smith in Theory and Practice," which is Chapter 1 in Adam Smith and Modern Political Economy, Gerald P. O'Driscoll, Jr., ed. (1979; footnotes as well as page references to Smith's Wealth of Nations eliminated; ellipses original to Sowell):

    To [Adam] Smith it seemed unlikely that the "artificial direction" given to the economic efforts of society would be better than the direction it would have taken "of its own accord." But here as elsewhere in The Wealth of Nations, the question was ultimately not one of theory but of fact.

    History showed that governments habitually mismanaged economic affairs, that such mismanagement was difficult to correct (in contrast to the market's swift correction by bankruptcy), and the the whole bias of government projects was toward things that were big and showy rather than useful. A government will often create works "of splendour and magnificence" to be seen by those whose applause will flatter its vanity and promote its political interests but will neglect "a great number of little works" which may have "extreme utility" but present no "great appearance" to "excite ... the admiration" of passers-by. Down through the centuries governments have been prone to operate at a deficit, often using tricky fiscal devices to conceal just how much they were in debt.


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