Last week's meeting in Dunkirk is one more reason government should stay out of the property business.
Known as the former Bertges property on Lake Shore Drive West in the city, the Dunkirk Local Development Corp. Real Property LLC, a subsidiary of the Dunkirk Local Development Corp. - which claims to not be part of the city government - is transferring ownership to the city because it cannot make its $50,000 payment this month. Somehow, an already financially strapped city has found the funds to make good on this debt.
"We have a $50,000 payment due in mid September," Mayor Anthony J. Dolce told the council's Finance Committee. "We still owe approximately $250,000 on the property."
When the property was purchased - before this mayor and council took office, we might add - questions were raised. However, little attention, was given.
Now the city is taking over property that could be on the tax rolls or being marketed better for private development.
Unlike private investors, the city's partner that is not part of the city government - the Dunkirk Local Development Corp. - paid far too much for this land in 2010. As part of a package deal, the agency paid $762,500.
There is no way private developers will pay that much. Why? That property is not worth that price.
But when governmental entities purchase property, price has nothing to do with it. If the city or the agency fails to make the payment, the taxpayers are on the hook and the city's credit rating may take a hit.
Looking at the bigger picture, this is just one more example that shows the DLDC is floundering. There is nothing happening in Dunkirk in terms of development and no agenda for building up this city and region in the future.
Residents are paying more than $200,000 annually for this department, though it claims it is not part of the city government. Are residents really getting their money's worth?