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Grasshoppers stadium taxes: Dog and the fleas

Rhino reports Greensboro Baseball LLC–which owns the Grasshoppers and New Bridge Bank Park—-got a little relief from the Guilford County Board of Equalization and Review over $35,000 in penalties for unpaid taxes on the downtown stadium.

The county agreed to reduce the penalties by $10,000. The penalties were assessed by the county on $90,000 in unpaid taxes when the stadium was owned by the Bryan Foundation, which built the stadium in 2005.

The Bryan Foundation sold the stadium to Greensboro Baseball to Greensboro Baseball. And although the county is holding the Bryan Foundation liable for the unpaid taxes and the penalties, Greensboro Baseball will be the one paying up, according to managing partner Cooper Brantley:

Brantley said the matter fell through the cracks at DGR because of the way that group was set up.

“DGR is not even a functioning entity,” he said, adding that it was a nonprofit created to facilitate the handling of the baseball stadium. “DGR is not business; it doesn’t pay taxes; it’s the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.”

“Penalties are more appropriate for someone trying to evade taxes and that was not the case with DGR,” he told the five-person board.

E & R Board member Willie Johnson put it this way at the meeting: “So you kind of bought the dog with all the fleas?”

That got a good laugh from the handful of people in the room, but Brantley jumped in quickly.

“We wouldn’t even have the stadium if it weren’t for them,” he said of the Bryan Foundation.

The issue is unpaid taxes on “things like machinery, office equipment and other “moveable” items of value that are not land or part of the building’s structure.”

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Incentives bill and the Randolph megasite

N&R reports the N.C. House is expected to approve a “comprehensive” economic development bill that includes up to $50 million for “high yield” companies that “create a minimum of 1,750 jobs and $500 million in plant and equipment.”

Question is what effect the bill will have on the proposed “megasite” here in the Triad —- the proposed 1,800- acre site that economic developers hope will lure an automobile manufacturer:

Randolph County Commissioner David Allen is skeptical about the state’s ability to bring enough incentive power to help finish the site and recruit an employer.

“When you compare incentive to incentive, it’s still kind of on the light side,” Allen said. “In order to get these incentives you’ve got to have a manufacturer to commit, and I don’t think you’re going to have a manufacturer to commit before you’ve got the site completed.”

But for counties that are yearning for one defining project, a better incentives package means better odds.

Meanwhile, Greensboro Partnership president and CEO Brent Christensen “chafes at the suggestion that a car company is his only recruiting goal,” while commenter Alan Ferguson–a megasite opponent —says this “is NOT a bill with much relevance for the proposed and as yet largely unpurchased Randolph County megasite,” adding ” after nearly four years of work, the Randolph County megasite has as its only substantial investor in the land there–Randolph County.”

In other words, we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for a major economic development announcement, $50 million or not.

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Metcalf resigns from WSFCS board

Winston-Salem Journal reports Winston-Salem-Forsyth County school board member Jeannie Metcalf “abruptly resigned” during Tuesday night’s meeting and left immediately afterward.

Metcalf said “both she and her husband have health issues that require more attention than she expected and felt like the time was right.”

Metcalf served 21 years on the school board, the longest serving member on the board. She was also a conservative Republican on WSFCS’ partisan board “who was not afraid to speak her mind, even when it rankled other board members or the public.”

Metcalf’s resignation comes as WSFCS begins the planning stages for a 2016 bond proposal.

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Gboro hates tourists…

….According to a Twitter analysis study, Greensboro ranks as the seventh-ranked tourist-hating city in the country.

My gut reaction….tourists—-what tourists?

“The only time I hate tourists is during A&T homecoming,” Cory Stackfews, a city resident, said (appropriately) via Twitter. “They’re just in the way. I tweet it every homecoming.”

But it’s just as likely that negative tweets referenced in the study came from disgruntled visiting basketball fans, upset that their teams lost in the ACC basketball tournament. Tweets could have been from tipsy concertgoers who had nosebleed seats to see Garth Brooks or Paul McCartney.

All I know is the only time A&T’s homecoming affects me is when the parade forces the relocation of Saturday’s downtown farmer’s market.

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W-S council approves BB&T Ballpark development

By a 7-1 vote, the Winston-Salem City Council approved financial aid for a proposed $53 million mixed-use development near BB&T Ballpark:

The $53 million investment by Brand would create a project bringing in about $300,000 in annual tax revenue to the city, although that money and more will be needed to make the payments on a parking deck the city would build to bring in the Brand investment.

The city contribution in the form of a 510-space parking deck would be built by Brand and sold to the city for $8.3 million. The city would finance the purchase at a 4 percent interest rate over 20 years, with the city making about $610,000 in annual payments over that period.

Because the annual payments are more than the annual tax revenue from the project, parking deck revenue plus a contribution from Forsyth County would be needed to make the project work.

That pretty much says it all—question now is what happens if county commissioners vote not to support the project? For what it’s worth, two council members —D.D. Adams and Jeff McIntosh “pointed to the city’s big investments downtown and suggested that it may be time for the city to stop priming the pump and let developers pay full cost.”

Adams said the “pump is running dry,” but it seems to me it never runs dry at any level of government.

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Skins cut Gboro’s Amerson

Update: Raiders claim Amerson off waivers.

In a setback for what was supposed to be a promising NFL career, the Washington Redskins have waived former N.C. State and Greensboro Dudley standout David Amerson:

For his career (33 games), Amerson recorded 111 tackles, 18 pass deflections and two interceptions (one returned for a 45-yard touchdown). On Monday, he became the highest drafted player from 2013 to have been cut by his original team.

Asked what he wanted to have seen more of from Amerson, Gruden said, “I think he needs to work on consistency. He does show flashes of being an excellent corner. He’s got the size and he’s got all the measurables for a defensive back. But for whatever reason, they don’t always show on a consistent basis when he’s out there. But we feel good about the cornerback depth that we have and we had to use that roster spot.”

Amerson is still young, and hopefully he will get a shot with another team.

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Where’s the hate?

I read with an open mind yesterday’s N&R article on Saturday’s downtown Greensboro Peace Festival.

Mind you the print edition headline shouted from the rooftops that the festival was a response to an incident of hate:


A hate letter galvanized Greensboro into hosting the first peace festival downtown

Ok, bad stuff I think to myself as I start reading:

The letter that sparked the responses arrived at the Islamic Center during Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer held in late June and early July.

The writer said he was a business owner and had worked hard to establish a successful business in Greensboro. But he had received many complaints from customers concerned about Muslims being close to the property. It asked that the Muslim community be “less visible.”

Qureshi did the unexpected. He went to the business owner to talk with him about the letter. It turned out that the owner had not sent it.

I can understand Mr. Qureshi taking offense to the letter —-whoever wrote it— but does it represent out and out hate? Maybe I’m naive, but I didn’t see it.

And the N&R Republicans are divisive.

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Re: Breaking the Guilford animal shelter info dam

Have to say the N&R did a pretty good front-pager on conditions at the Guilford County animal shelter that resulted in indictments against former director Marsha Williams and two other employees in Davidson County, where the nonprofit United Animal Coalition ran the animal shelter there.

The Rhino’s Scott Yost digs up more infor in this week’s edition. Long read—here’s a highlight:

It has also come to light that, before the scandal broke, Williams was pleading with the UAC board to pull out of Davidson County because of what Williams said were continued racially based threats from some in that county. Williams became especially upset after an incident at the Davidson County shelter where a Davidson County resident brought a lunch of fried chicken and watermelon to Williams and her predominantly black staff.

Some UAC board members claim that the investigation and prosecution that came out of Davidson County resulted largely due to racial motivations of those intent on driving Williams and her staff out of that county. However, state and local authorities seem to have had plenty of legitimate reasons to intervene.

Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes continues his investigation and has decided to present all of the evidence and charges to the district attorney’s office in “one package.” Among the evidence —admittedly the least of law enforcement’s concerns given the condition in which many animals were found at both shelters—is court-ordered volunteers sent to the shelter as part of their sentence didn’t do anything. Imagine that.

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Say Yes says yes to Guilford County

N&R reports:

It’s big news that centers on one little word: Yes.

Guilford County is officially the next Say Yes to Education partnership community, local and national officials announced this morning.

They called that news “historic” and life changing for students in Guilford public schools.

The most immediate benefit of the partnership is that students in the class of 2016 will be eligible for last-dollar tuition scholarships that close the gap between tuition costs and the amount covered by other scholarships and grants. Guilford high schools had about 5,330 seniors as of Tuesday, according to an unofficial count.

The partnership will be a “huge benefit” for Guilford students, many of whom are traditionally under served by colleges and universities, said Nora Carr, chief of staff for Guilford County Schools.

“So that’s very exciting,” she said.

According to the N&R, the “details about program governance still are being ironed out.”

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Budweiser absorbing Miller?

On the heels of the announcement that MillerCoors is closing its Eden plant comes news that Anheuser Busch InBev NV has approached SABMiller with proposed takeover:

London-listed SABMiller said AB InBev “has informed SABMiller that it intends to make a proposal to acquire SABMiller.” It cautioned that no deal was certain. AB InBev soon followed with its own statement, saying it intends “to work with SABMiller’s board toward a recommended transaction.” No terms were disclosed.

AB InBev and SABMiller are the world’s two largest brewing companies, and a combination would trigger an intense antitrust review around the world.

Meanwhile, the N&R editorializes on the ‘bitter finish’ in Eden, managing—imagine this—to get in a shot at Sen. Phil Berger, expressing hope that Berger “will rethink the decision to slash unemployment benefits” since “his own constituents may need more help than a maximum of $350 a week for 16 weeks.”

N&R also notes Eden and Rockingham County “will lose significant tax revenues but still have to provide public services and operate schools.” Interesting then that Rockingham County Manager Lance Metzler said redistributed sales tax revenue to rural counties that was included in the long-delayed state budget deal would help lessen the blow of the plant closure.

Worth noting that the N&R editorialized strongly against the redistribution of sales tax revenue, calling it a “share-the-wealth scheme” devised by Republicans to pit rural against urban interests.

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