On Wednesday Knox County auctioned off 160 acres of land in Solway for $2 million, pending County Commission approval. 30 of those acres house the Solway green-waste facility that has been leased to Natural Resources Recovery of Tennessee for several years. The rest of it is a county park, Bigfoot Park, or it was.
In theory, the lease agreement was supposed to be a money maker for the county, in addition to providing a public disposal site for homeowners and businesses with brush and yard waste. Because the contract was not properly followed, the county's income fell short of expectations, but over the past year, NRRT paid the county $84,614 in profit sharing.
Burchett supporters have celebrated the fact that this sale puts the property back on the tax rolls, but using the appraisal from the auction ($1.19M) as the assessed value, NRRT would pay $28,084/yr in property tax. Is a $56,530/yr drop in revenue really something to celebrate?
I can do math, but I'm hardly an expert in economics. I'd like to be convinced that I'm misunderstanding this situation. There are folks on KnoxViews who can analyze this sort of thing better than I. To me it looks like Burchett is behaving like a junkie at a pawn shop, converting assets to cash at a lousy price so that he can keep pursuing his Carter school promise after the free market let him down by producing a low bid no better than the price tag the School Board had placed on new construction.
Can anyone put together a comprehensive look at the finances that shows this transaction to be a wise move, and not a desperate squandering of assets for short-term cash? And is the county really selling a park?
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