Municipal bond analyst Steve Willson has taken a look at the Village of Lakewood’s proposed sale of the Red Tail Golf Club and written the following thoughts in a comment to yesterday’s article:
Some interesting numbers:
After twenty years, RedTail has lost $1.6 million in value, or 45% of the original cost to taxpayers. Even with the horrible loss in value since 2007, most residential and commercial property is worth more today than twenty years ago.
IF the Village actually GETS $1.9 million, the taxpayers will have incurred a loss on their “investment” of about 11% a year for twenty years.
Finally, the golf course raised the property taxes of the average family in Lakewood by around $250 to $300 per year, every year, for 20 years, and is still operating at a deficit.
And now Lakewood is busy speculating in real estate (excuse me, “engaging in economic development”) by buying land at 47 & 176 to “control” development.
I’m sorry, but Lakewood has no business risking taxpayer money like this.
They don’t need to own the land to “control” development.
In fact, they don’t need to “control” development, period!
If some private party buys the land at that corner and does something with it that meets code and zoning, that is their right.
How dare the Village risk taxpayer money because some government official has some grandiose idea about what might be there!
I’ve got an idea.
How about a big arena?
We can get some advice from Hoffman Estates about how their “investment” in Sears Centre is working out.
The fact is that, historically and across all types of government all across the county, governments have a horrendous track record of losing money at this type of thing.
If the Village board members want to risk their own money on real estate because they think it’s a great deal, they should do so.
But how dare they risk taxpayer money!