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Is Wichita mismanaging tax dollars?

August 05, 2013

There are numerous concerns about how the Wichita City Council makes its decisions regarding public incentive packages to developers, and how it makes deals with different developers vying to serve the city. The latest issue is the West Bank Development along the Arkansas River.

On Tuesday, August 6, the city will vote to select who will develop the West Bank of the river. Two developers have submitted proposals based on their own wildly different appraisals on the land.

How do we know taxpayers won’t get shortchanged on the sale of this land? We don’t. We don’t know because the city has never had the property appraised to learn its market value.

In looking at the neighboring property, the city paid $3.4 million for the nine-acre Watkins property in 2008, which would amount to about $8.50 per square foot. However, one of the bids on the West Bank property offers $100,000 for nearly five acres, which amounts to about 46 cents/sq. ft. for prime real estate space right on the Arkansas River.

Taxpayers are being poorly served by a City Council that has been willing to buy less valuable land for $8.50/sq. ft., but then to sell adjacent land in a more desirable location for only 46 cents/sq.ft.

We urge you to contact your city council member today, and encourage them to auction the property off rather than including valuable land in yet another taxpayer-funded goodie basket for developers.

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