A response to the Chamber

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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-percent per year for 30 years, the mortgage payments would have been $2,148 per month.  Instead, the Chamber negotiated a lease with the City to rent the building for $150 per month.  That represents a $2,000 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.

Margy Vanlandingham
Candidate, City Commission