Letters (June 1, 2011)

County, learn from Council Grove lease

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Foresight is always better than hindsight. I ask the county commissioners to take the time to use some foresight and do some serious homework before they make radical changes to our only county lake.

Sometimes a good economic decision can be made by looking at someone else?s poor decisions.

For example, a 15-year lease for an about 11,000-square-foot residential lakeside building site at Council Grove Lake pays the leaser (city of Council Grove) an annual rent of between $500 and $600.

But these leases of bare, open land have recently been sold by individual lease holders for $60,000 to $100,000 on the open market, confirmed by Darlene Wilkerson, long time Realtor in Council Grove.

Thus, by only charging lease rent on these lots, the city has given away to the lease holders some big money that could have gone toward the city budget.

Marion County commissioners are preparing to make the same mistake on an even larger scale by considering a 99-year lease of lakeside sites at Marion County Lake for only a very modest annual rent.

With Council Grove as a cautionary example, it appears the lease our commissioners should be considering could be for only 15 years with 15-year renewal options for residential sized building sites (about 11,000 square feet) with an annual rent and other terms to protect and benefit the county. These leases would then be offered for sale by the county in an initial offering on the open market.

Using Council Grove?s current situation as a guide, and the proposed lease being considered by our commissioners, the first of these three sites (40,440 square feet) would be worth $240,000 to $400,000 up front, and an annual rent of $2,200.

If our commissioners are determined to go ahead with development along the lake shore of Marion County Lake, I ask them to recognize and maximize the true value of these sites for the benefit of the true owners, the citizens of Marion County.

Leroy A. Wetta

Peabody

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