Frisco gambling taxpayers’ cash with new marina plan
Maybe Frisco town manager Michael Penny and his assistant, Theresa Casey, should just load up $900,000 from the town’s general fund, haul it to Central City and start rolling the dice.That, in essence, is what they are proposing to do with taxpayers’ money.The management team plans to borrow the $900,000 from the town’s general fund to create a marina business. They hope the venture will be able to start paying the taxpayers back in three to five years. I don’t mean to be cynical, but I do have some insight regarding the likelihood of that happening. My company, Osprey Adventures, started developing the Frisco Bay Marina in 1989 when Frisco was truly interested in economic development. In February Public Works director Tim Mack sent a memo to the Frisco Town Council saying that water levels in Frisco could be too low to operate the marina in 21 of the next 26 years, according to water experts.Frisco officials have yet to determine how to solve the potential water level issues (SDN, Nov. 24). The solution could cost millions (more of taxpayers’ money), according to Casey, or Frisco could choose to shut down marina operations.Regardless of water levels, interest from the town’s $900,000 loan will continue to accrue, and whose life will be mortgaged to the hilt if we get another 2002?Luckily, next time, the daunting risk won’t be mine alone. Osprey packed up its $500,000 worth of marina equipment after an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a new Frisco Bay Marina contract with Penny.So basically, while the town advertised to form a committee to encourage economic development, it drove out a local company so it could start all over again.The town will have difficulty paying basic marina operating expenses with its proposed scanty rental fleet, let alone a debt load of nearly $1 million.It is interesting that the town has budgeted $900,000 “to create a seamless transition from Osprey to the town of Frisco,” according to Penny. Yet his management team declined to buy the very items that would have helped assure the success of the project such as published marina phone numbers, mailing lists, contracts, website and phone system.According to Ms. Casey (SDN, Nov. 24), the town will spend one year developing these lists, which will mean lower revenues and increased advertising costs to the taxpayers. You can bet that the management team and the Frisco Town Council won’t be mortgaging their homes and business property if there’s low water. That burden, according to the current plan, will be shared by each and every taxpayer in the town of Frisco.OK, Mr. Penny, start rolling the dice.
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