Friday, January 9, 2015

Whose Property Is It?

Put aside for a minute whatever doubts you have about the need for another convention center in the Fox Valley and focus on another aspect of the project that isn't getting much consideration: the fact that the majority of Appleton residents are paying to buy something they already own.  I'm talking about the purchase of property currently owned by Outagamie County by the City of Appleton for construction of the proposed Expo Hall.  (Just a heads up, I'm going to throw a lot of math at you here early in the morning.)

According to the last census, 60,000 of the 72,000 people who live in Appleton reside in Outagamie County.  The remaining 12,000 are split with just over 11,000 in Calumet County and about 1500 living in Winnebago County.  Technically, they do not "own" a share of the property where the Expo may go.  At the current offering price of $2-million dollars, those 12,500 Appleton residents are paying $160 each to "buy" their share of that property.  Those living in the Outagamie County portion of Appleton aren't paying anything--they already "own" a share.

Conversely, Outagamie County's total population is 177,000 people--meaning 117-thousand people live outside of Appleton--and will be "compensated" for selling their share of the property.  At a $2-million dollar sale price, they will "get" $17 per person from the sale.

Unfortunately, the money sitting in the accounts at City Hall and the County Building isn't earmarked like that--so that isn't how the sale price will be broken down.  Instead, Appleton residents will pay out of what they send to City Hall this month and get the "credit" on what they send to the County Building on the back end (maybe).  Doing that math, Outagamie County Appletonians will pay 83% of the cost (or $1.66-million to buy land they already own)--and will receive 33% of the revenue back (or $678,000 in return).  Meaning the deal on the table basically includes a one million dollar "title transfer fee" on Outagamie County Appleton residents.

Just something to think about the next time you hear County Exective Nelson and Mayor Hanna use terms like "our land" in discussions about the Expo Hall.

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