Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 13, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Lewiston civic center project will impact Lewiston taxes; use up most of greenway funds

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — In its recent greenway application Lewiston proposes to use $430,000 annually for the next 30 years to pay for the civic center leaving $80,000 per year available to fund future projects. But this scenario is complicated due to an annual $84,000 contractual obligation for the next four years. Bottom line, if Lewiston annually dedicates $430,000 toward the civic center, and if the remaining $80,000 is used to pay off the ice rink and finish projects at Joe Davis as the town supervisor has said, there will be no greenway funding available for the next 30 years.

Recently, Lewiston invited a sports management expert to review the civic center project. At a recent meeting I asked him could he purchase 10 acres of land, pay all associates fees, build and supply a 140,000 square foot facility for $8 million dollars, he answered no. Could this be done for $12 or $13 million? Again, he answered no. How much would it cost to purchase land, pay fees, build and supply a 140,000 square foot facility? He answered over $15 million dollars.

I asked, using local resources, how long would it take before the civic center would see a profit, he answered at least five years and only with professional management because local sports managers don’t have the management contacts needed to generate funds to pay for the marketing and daily operation and maintenance.

Supporters of this project claim $8 million will purchase land, pay fees, marketing and daily operation and maintenance, build and supply a 140,000 square foot building plus generate a profit while not taxing Lewiston property owners. Around Lewiston supporters have placed signs claiming an $8 million dollar bond can do all this and create “no additional taxes.” Oh, really.

On May 13, at a town board meeting authorizing the issuance of said $8 million bond, the following was read into the record, “the payment on the principal of and interest on such bond shall be made by the annual levying on all taxable real property in said town, a tax sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on such bond.”

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