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Archive for November, 2012

Perkins hot after newspaper racks

Lots of news breaking about downtown G’boro these days. John Hammer’s Rhino column starts out discussing Downtown Greensboro Inc. president Ed Wolverton’s desire to hang 110 baskets —at a cost of $500 apiece. But here’s what jumped out at me:

Wolverton and company also want to remove all of the newspaper boxes from the downtown. This is something that Mayor Robbie Perkins has been trying to do for years, and now that newspapers have been reporting about how he refuses to pay child support and refuses to even pay the mortgage on the home where his wife and child live, but manages to pay the mortgage on the condo in Center Pointe where he lives, Perkins is hot after newspaper boxes again.

As for Perkins’ landlord Roy Carroll and his statement that he will find people to run against current City Council members who oppose a stronger noise ordinance, I say scary, scary. Anyone else think downtown noise will be the forgotten issue by Nov.’13 if Perkins succeeds in ramming through the downtown PAC?

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Big win for Billy Prim

Winston-Salem Dash owner Billy Prim gets the property tax on the BB&T Stadium lease reduced to …..drum roll—- zero.

Prim won an appeal before county’s board of equalization and review. Prim did not attend the meeting, but instead was represented by attorney Bart McLean:

Thursday’s argument wasn’t about the tax value of the stadium itself. That value has been set by the county assessor’s office at $48.2 million. No taxes can be collected on the stadium, however, because it is owned by the city of Winston-Salem.

But for the past two years, the city and county have together been collecting more than $300,000 in property taxes per year, calculated from the tax value of the lease that Sports Menagerie has with the city.

The lease is considered to be intangible personal property, and therefore, taxable.

The county tax office proposed setting the value of that lease at $26.45 million for 2013. But McLean argued that if the stadium is worth $48 million, and the lease is worth $26 million, then taken together, the value would be $74 million.

“That makes no sense,” McLean said.

McLean said that the value of the lease is zero because Sports Menagerie is paying the city more than the market rate of leasing the property, and he cited an appraiser’s report that came to that conclusion.

McLean argued that no “rational person” would take over Sports Menagerie’s lease for what the county says it is worth.

Review board member Bill White said he didn’t know what the right answer was in this case. Far as I can tell, nobody does.

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Another ‘mega deal.’ Sigh.

Rare that Greensboro Economic Development Alliance President Dan Lynch has nothing to say to local media. Fair enough, we’re technically talking Alamance County as the potential site for a ‘mega deal,’ but Lynch’s pass was still unusual.

Remember the rumored suitor— Wal-Mart for a distribution center—- was reportedly looking at the Guilford County prison farm. Whoever was looking at the prison farm, it was a project Lynch pitched to Guilford County commissioners, who bit hard. And it didn’t turn out so well.

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Gboro performing arts center –not if…..

But when:

Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins spoke at the end of the meeting in glowing support of GPAC, saying, “the only thing I can say is wow.” He also said that whether or not the center would be built had gone from a question of “if we can pull this off” to a question of “when it opens.”

No bond referendum, because it wouldn’t pass. So City Finance Director Rick Lusk is pushing general obligation bonds so the city can pony up its $40 million share. General fund dollars would service $20 million, with hotel-motel taxes servicing another $10 million, while the remaining $10 million “would be financed through a variety of methods that are not exactly nailed down yet,” as John Hammer puts it.

Meanwhile, the task force also announced a bequest from the LeBauer family for an ‘outdoor component’ to the performing arts center. That would be in addition to the already existing Center City Park and Festival Park, all between Friendly Ave. and Lindsay Street. Think I once heard someone say a city can’t have too many parks, but one can’t help but wonder….

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ACC sues Maryland over exit fee

Lawsuit filed here in Guilford County, home of ACC headquarters.

Surprised to see the conference jump the legal gun before entering into negotiations with Maryland. A settlement might still be reached —and probably will. But what if this plays out in court and the ACC loses?

Update: AP reports ACC will plug in Louisville to replace the Terps.

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Re: GPAC ‘cultural trust’

Latest on proposed downtown Greensboro performing arts center: City will own it, highest-paid city employee Matt Brown and his coliseum staff will manage it, but a ‘cultural arts trust’ will be formed to operate it.

So 21st century, says Community Foundation president Walker Sanders. Don’t know who they think they’re fooling, because another layer of bureaucracy involving the in-crowd in this city isn’t going to ease cynicism (to say the least) over this project.

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First up for new HP council

Whether or not to pony up $13 million for water and sewer for D.H. Griffin’s proposed High Point North Industrial Center, event though City Manager Strib Boynton says the city has “no current or readily identifiable method to pay for all the required improvements.”

The previous council tentatively approved the project, now it’s up to the ‘new’ council — which now includes Mayor-elect Benita Sims, a longtime council member, as well as current Mayor Becky Smothers and former Mayor Judy Mendenhall, to make it happen. On a related note, council candidate Elijah Lovejoy takes Sims to task in this op-ed, questioning Sims’ claim that the council has done a good job on the city budget, considering HP’s high property taxes and electric and sewer rates.

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Hospitals bracing for direct hit

The N&R follows up on Obamacare’s ripple effect on the hospital industry. It’s not pretty:

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center launched a distress signal in a gathering storm when it said on Nov. 14 that it will cut 950 jobs.

That storm has at its center national health care reform, possible lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid services, and an increasing number of older patients who need more care.

The hospital industry is in for a direct hit — that’s not in doubt.

But mass layoffs may be only one of many solutions for the health care industry’s problems.

Note in the comments the passionate defense of Obamacare from ‘Panacea,’ who’s “been telling people for three years that the PPACA (Obamacare) would improve health care in part by forcing hospitals to be more efficient.” Bottom line is it’s more people on the unemployment rolls, yet another ‘unintended consequence’ of this mother of a government mandate.

Agree or disagree, Panacea’s been a solid fixture here on the G’boro blog scene, but he values his anonymity and thus tells N&R editor Jeff Gauger he’ll be signing off after six years when the paper begins its real name commenting policy on the new website.

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Give up the iPad, Councilman

Note to (soon to be former) High Point City Council member Mike Pugh: You didn’t bill the city for travel. Good for you. You didn’t take advantage of the city’s health insurance plan. Even better. But I just don’t see where that qualifies you for a free iPad.

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GPD pondering private IDs for illegal immigrants

The N&R reports:

Police leaders will explore whether they can use a private identification card to help them identify undocumented immigrants, police told residents at a forum Sunday.

Winston-Salem police accept identification cards issued by the nonprofit CHANGE to help them tell who someone is if the person doesn’t have a government-issued ID.

Greensboro Deputy Police Chief Dwight Crotts said police leaders will discuss whether the city should adopt a similar policy.

A few questions about Winston-Salem’s private ID policy, while NYT writes up L.A.’s just-passed illegal immigrant ID policy.

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