Since Midway’s mayor and three city council members were re-elected, we can expect more of the incompetency that we have seen in the past four years. At last month’s city-council meeting, the council voted to allow the mayor to sign a lease with the Liberty County Public Facilities Authority for a piece of what I consider to be worthless property. Councilman Terry Doyle, who opposed the lease, is leaving office at the end of the month.
The property in question is on Midway’s west side, directly behind the shopping area on Butler Street. It runs from Highway 84 to Martin Road. According to the lease, only a public facility can be built on this land. Since this deal was discussed behind closed doors, the details are just coming to light. There are many questions, such as what does the city plan to do with this land?
Since the mayor, during her campaign, stated that she wants to build a new city hall, is this the location that she picked? If so, every time we visit city hall, we will get to look at the garbage behind the shopping area. The north side of the land — next to the bank — is unusable since a power line crosses the property from east to west, cutting off access to the property from Martin Road. That leaves access from the south end only, which is 148 feet wide — hardly enough space for an attractive building and parking, especially after you deduct for any easements. From what I can surmise, the city has not established any concrete plans for this site.
Oh, I forgot to mention that as of Dec. 3, according to the published tax records, the owners are Leon M. Braun Jr. and Richard E. Braun Jr., not the Liberty County Public Facilities Authority. That’s right — it’s the city attorney, Richard Braun. Why is this deal going from the Brauns to the county and then being leased to Midway? Did the city hire an outside attorney to protect the city’s interest with this 19-page one-sided lease? No. Does the city realize that it waives any right to a trial by jury in any action or proceedings? I doubt it.
The terms of the lease cover a three-year period, where the city pays the interest on a loan that exists on the property, amounting to $7,800 for the term of the lease. Then the city has an option to buy the land, which I understand will cost roughly $78,000. The city intends to use future SPLOST money to make the purchase, yet that money has not been allocated.
The lease calls for a test for subsurface conditions. How about an environmental study? The city has not done any of this. The city also must pay additional money for impositions. How much are the impositions? Impositions are taxes, assessments and all kinds of fees.
The city has an option to purchase the land at any time during the lease term or to extend the term. What happens if the city doesn’t buy the property? Do we lose all of the money spent on the lease and the impositions?
The city is leasing a pig in a poke, which further shows that Midway is being led by unqualified incompetents. I don’t think that we should spend SPLOST money on an ill-conceived questionable project, when there are roads within the city that need paving.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and has written articles for trade publications in various fields for 30 years.