Cape Charles Mirror Report – by Wayne Creed
During Thursday’s Town Council meeting, it was announced that the Town plans to spend over $1 million in grant and matching funds on the Peach and Washington Street stems of the Cape Charles Community Trail. The high price tag project will connect the short stretch from Central Park to Mason Avenue. The logic behind this endeavor still seems murky, as the much touted ‘(capital) improvement’ to Peach will actually be eliminating much needed and sought after parking on the block the contains Impact Fitness, the Town’s only Laundromat, and the future site for a Brew Pub. In essence, high value real estate that should be leveraged for parking in the commercial district is going to be converted into a grassy knoll that for all intents and purposes, serves no purpose.
The question on the minds of citizens is just how much more of the taxpayer’s dollars is the Town going waste on the trail project, and more, is it even necessary? And how does one actually spend one million dollars on something that appears to be so trivial? For this price tag, shouldn’t an obelisk, monolith or even a pyramid be involved? Even as the fraudulent nature of this part of the trail may seem jarring to many, this is not the first questionable move made by the Town in this regard. In 2013 the town misappropriated money reserved for the Community Trail Project ($100,000.00) to purchase seven lots on Randolph Avenue that it said would be used for ‘welcome signs’. The town had budgeted $150,000 for the trail that year. Of note, when the town illegally demolished the circle and flag pole in front the Cape Charles High School, they also used monies meant for the Trail Project to do so.
From a fiscally conservative perspective, a legitimate question is whether or not using a million (tax) dollars for these purposes is really appropriate?
Southport Purchases Waterfront Property from Town
The Mayor and Council signed off on a resolution to sell off prime, harbor front property to Southport investors for what, given the location, appears to be fire sale prices. For someone that claims to be so bullish on Cape Charles, the Mayor and Council seem eager for what almost amounts to a short sale. From the staff report, “On 14 April 2011, the Town Council approved Ordinance 20110414, which approved the First Amendment to Lease Agreement between the Town and South Port Investors, L.L.C., including certain acquisition rights and the Fourth Amendment to Lease Agreement between the Town and South Port Investors, L.L.C.,including certain acquisition rights.The parcels, 83A3-19 and 83A3-20 were approved for option to sell via the previous ordinance 20110414.” and “South Port Investors, L.L.C., has accepted the higher valuation of the property, subject to a title review, negotiation of utility easements for the Town, and a rapid closing.“
The prices agreed upon are as follows:
Lot 12 $261,000
Lot 17 $172,000
Lot 19 $382,000
Lot 20 $245,000
Southport will be purchasing lots 19 and 20 now. They may exercise their option on 12 and 17 as early as next spring.
During the Treaurer’s report it was revealed that the Town had already made, and was in the process of making more big ticket item purchases based on USDA grants. These purchases included an F-250 truck, and other vehicles for the police and code enforcement officials. However, the USDA grant applications were DENIED. According to Bob Panek, the Town can either allocate funds from the budget to pay for the items, or it can finance the purchases through a USDA loan program (that is, adding more to the Town’s already ballooning debt). Why would the Town spend huge sums when it never actually had the money in the first place? The Mayor’s next office hours are 6-7 pm on September 22nd.
Mayor Proto proclaims things (Opinion)
As the standard bearer for anti-logic, Mayor Proto once again did not disappoint as he read a proclamation proclaiming the supreme awesomeness of our (U.S.) Constitution (actually something called ‘Constitution Week’). Given that the Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America, it is unclear just what Proto’s proclamation does to enhance it. A more meaningful and useful proclamation would be for the Mayor and Town Council to end fraudulent waste, as well as agreeing to enter a 12 step program for people that do stupid things.
¿Que chamba tienes. Esta coche es chafa.