Sunday, October 27, 2013

Editorial: Lake Worth beach remake is successful, at a price |

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty,darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

So Andrew Marra sees the light. The light or truth is good, but what it reveals is bad, and part of the darkness that came before. We are going to pay for the project through our property taxes, regardless of Ms. Stanton's protestations to the contrary made at an earlier time.  The e-mail conversation that I had with her then was still at a point where some corrective action could be made to improve the financial viability of the project. But that was not to be since whenever legitimate questions were raised, they were dismissed as being from a group of  people that wanted the project to fail. That couldn't have been farther from the truth, but that sentiment prevented any constructive criticism of the project from being incorporated.

We now know the reality. The city has yet to make a principal payment on the $6 million loan taken out to partially fund the project - including the construction of a NEW building. Let's not forget to add the $2.4 million defense and settlement of the Greater Bay lawsuit and the $ million or so of utility improvements that sneaked in at the last minute.

From the article:
Nearly a year after the official grand opening, those predictions have been proven wrong. City residents this year are paying more than $400,000 to subsidize operations at the beach, and those subsidies are expected to continue for years. Far from a money-maker, Lake Worth’s beach continues to cost city taxpayers.
This is not new. The beach had been a money-loser for decades before its remake. Public amenities such as pools, parks and community centers are subsidized in any city. But the turn of events at Lake Worth’s beach reveals just how far off were the lofty predictions that city officials used to sell the project. Lake Worth residents, assured that their city was building a financially self-sustaining beach complex, will have to get used to the idea of covering more than 15 percent of its costs through property taxes.
I also hear that there are still water problems with the building and I am not sure the city has formally taken over the building from the contractor. It would be nice to have an update on the status of the construction punch list. Corrosion is still a problem as well, which is part of the unanticipated increased cost to maintain the building.

Commissioner McVoy - How are those ranges of financial performance pro formas now?

I hate to say I told you so, but I did just that. Click title for link to the full editorial.