Public/Private Partnerships: Getting Things Right

Public/private partnerships offer a new and exciting way to achieve civic goals at lower cost and avoid public debt, but they are a new way of doing things and there can be misunderstandings about them.

An article appeared in the August 6 edition of The Marion Times about the Plug Into Your Community Event sponsored by the Marion Chamber of Commerce, MEDCO, the Marion Blue Zones Project, and the City. The purpose of the event was to help people become more informed about what’s happening in the City. Unfortunately, most of the information in the article about the library project is wrong.

Here are the statements made in the paragraph about the library project, followed by their corrections:

Statement: The new project in the works is a three-story, multi-use facility that would take the place of the current library.

Correction: The overall size and configuration of the project, let alone the number of stories, has not yet been determined.

Statement: The $28 million project would be completed by Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Correction: Ryan Companies has not made a final determination of its total investment yet. The library build-out construction is budgeted for $12 million.

Statement: The building would provide opportunities for both retail and residential tax, as the first story of the building would include a retail space, such as a grocery store, the second floor would be the home of the new library, and the third and possibly fourth floor would contain rental units for residents.

Correction: The library will not be on the second floor of a larger building. It will be a clearly identifiable structure. The rest of the description of the development is entirely speculative.

Statement: The tax income from the first and upper floors would cover the expenses for the new library.

Correction: The property tax raised by the private development, including the library portion during the term of a lease-purchase agreement, will contribute to paying the construction costs of the new library. They will not cover all expenses.

Statement: The project is still in the study phase, and more information will be released if the project continues forward.

Correction: The project is still in a study phase, and more information will be released as the project goes forward.

For other recent information about the project, be sure to check an earlier Frequently Asked Questions entry. As we complete the study phase and have more specific and detailed information about the project, we’ll post it here.