To the Editor:
Permit me to comment on the recent letter from the Chamber of Commerce vis-a-vis my campaign statement urging the City of Cedar Key to stop the Chamber subsidy. My thinking was as follows: the City bought the Creswell House in 2008 for $330,000, and renovated it in 2010 for use as a Welcome Center at a cost of $67,807. The City`s investment was thus $397,807. If the occupants of the building, the Chamber of Commerce, were to have bought the building and renovated it, and had taken out a mortgage for $400,000 at terms of 5% per year for 30 years, the mortgage payments would have been $2148 per month. Instead, the Chamber negotiated a lease with the City to rent the building for $150 per month. That represents a $2000 per month or $24,000 per year subsidy.
My position was and still is: in a tight fiscal situation which the City certainly appears to be in, that magnitude of a subsidy seems inappropriate. I did not say the Chamber isn`t spending any of their own money on the Center or that the City shouldn`t be partnering with the Chamber (although I do see a qualitative difference with the other non-profit organizations mentioned as partners). What I do believe is that the subsidy is way too large, and that the entire business community can do better than $150 per month. End of my story, and thank you for the opportunity to respond.