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Norfolk: Just say no

This morning’s newspaper reported that the developer of the office building project paid delinquent real estate taxes on properties it owns in the city.

The taxes, penalty and interest on more than a dozen properties were paid for properties the company owns in Broad Creek, a development in central Norfolk in which the city has torn down two public housing projects and is replacing them with mixed-income housing. Tivest Development was as much as six months behind on some of the properties, according to the Norfolk treasurer’s office.

The issue was raised by Norfolk resident Michael Amland on Saturday at a town hall meeting organized by three council members opposed to more subsidies for the office tower.

Wendy Petchel, an accounting supervisor in the treasurer’s office, said the taxes were paid either late Friday or early Monday.

“I can’t tell” from paperwork which day the money was paid, she wrote in an e-mail Monday afternoon.

We are all too aware of the city’s problems related to collection of overdue real estate taxes, a problem that was supposedly resolved. Oops! Or maybe it was special dispensation in this case?

This is just the latest in a saga that the editorial board called this morning “a mediocre one at the start” that “has worsened annually.”

The bottom line for me is this: in economic times that have yet to improve, facing budget shortfalls and cutbacks in nearly all agencies, not to mention the potential for higher real estate taxes, Norfolk simply cannot afford to do this deal.

To Norfolk council I repeat: just say no.

To Norfolk residents – if you can attend today’s council meeting at 2:30pm (I can’t – I have to work), please do so.

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11 thoughts on “Norfolk: Just say no

  1. With the release of the 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report today, I can only surmise that the picture has become more grim for the city’s financial future.
    I hope Dr. Whibley comes around and votes “no” on this project.
    I will be signing up to speak against this project- while economic development is critical for the city, it should be done so with as little risk as possible.
    The unpaid taxes are another red flag that this project should not go through.
    Kudos again for Councilman Smigiel for organizing the town hall where these facts came out.

    • Yes they were. Right on point. Unfortunately, council passed it anyway. Despite overwhelming onjections. I did all I could. Researched and brought up the unpaid taxes and other issues at Saturday’s meeting, lots of info to press and council. Still passed. Thanks to all who tried to defeat. Sad day on the outcome. Happy day that citizens got engaged and hopefully will stay so.
      Next steps:
      (1) Petition to overturn vote. Will start immediately. Get involved.
      (2) Whibley and Winn. We need two viable candiates to start running now to get these two defeated. Get started now. It’ll be tough.

  2. Vivian, you know “That” song ;)

    Sad that the shell game was played today…presentations changed, etc.
    I still don’t understand- if this is a *great* economic development opportunity for the city- where are the “strings” to protect the city? No hold harmless, no clawback provision, nothing.
    There are too many variables to make this project worth the city’s while- IF STOP doesn’t experience financial difficulty, IF rent is paid, IF leases are not broken…I saw the positive impact this proposal *could* have but not the downside.
    I expect city officals to be impartial as public administrators and not cave to political pressure- sadly, that’s what we saw today.
    I had high hopes for Marcus Jones, after what I witnessed today…he will do the Mayor’s bidding at any cost.
    Furthermore, Paul Riddick’s temper tantrums were pathetic for a grown man- let alone an elected official. As I’ve stated before, the only good thing I can say for his behavior is at least he wasn’t armed with a ham.

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