OK Then, How About a Game of Softball?
By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
August 26, 2013
Eight months ago to the day — December 26, 2012 — Town of Cape Charles staff returned to work after a four-day Christmas break. Town Manager Heather Arcos was still on leave, so Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek was in charge. The previous week on December 20, just one day before the holiday break, Mayor Dora Sullivan had given a Christmas present to developer J. David McCormack and his company, Charon Ventures. McCormack received the Old School in Central Park, the adjoining Park basketball court, the Park playground parking lot, and $41,000 to be used for water and sewer connection fees.
The property was valued on the tax rolls at over $900,000. When McCormack offered to “buy” it for $1 (later raised to $10), Town Council was so impressed by the offer that they declined to request or entertain any other bids.
McCormack was known to Arcos, who, according to McCormack, “by sheer coincidence had a relationship” with his wife, Mary. (click here to watch McCormack video ).
But McCormack and his Echelon partner, Edwin Gaskin, explained to Town managers Arcos and Panek that despite the expectation of federal and state tax credits totaling 45 percent of their development costs, they still could not afford to convert the Park property into a 17-unit apartment building. The sticking point was the water and sewer connection charge of $12,350 per unit.
As residents paying a minimum $108 monthly water bill are painfully aware, the Town recently raised sewer charges over 80 percent because connection fees have not been sufficient to cover debt service on the Town’s new sewage plant. Nevertheless, Town Council reduced connection fees from $20,000 to $12,350. Then, to accommodate developer McCormack, Council further reduced fees to $6,175 for one-bedroom units.
But that was still not enough for McCormack and Gaskin. So Panek persuaded Town Council to give them a special rate of another 50 percent off Town connection fees. McCormack’s one-bedroom units would pay only $3,087.50 per unit tap fee. [Read more…]