Oct. 10 Letters to the Editor

Black Mountain News

Concerns about terms of lease between town and day care

As a new resident to Black Mountain, I have taken an interest in the process underway for the town to lease the vacant parcels of town-owned  property on White Pine Drive (adjacent to the Community Garden) to Swannanoa Children Care Council, Inc. 

In reading the lease terms that were approved by the Board of Alderman at the Sept. 9 meeting, some of the provisions are worrisome and appear to be absent from the public discourse.

The lease provides for Black Mountain to lease town property to Swannanoa Children Care Council, Inc. for 10 years at an annual rate of $6,840. The Council would pay for all of the improvements: site work, building construction, parking, playground, etc. 

However, according to the lease, the Town of Black Mountain will be obliged to reimburse the Council  the entire cost of the project if the lease is broken. While the actual costs have not been made public, it is likely to be in the $800,000 to $1,000,000 or more.

In short, the town would receive a total of $68,400 over the life of the lease, while in turn being obliged to pay for the entire cost to Swannanoa Children Care Council, Inc.

Put another way, the town could be on the hook to give the Council $800,000 to $1,000,000 sometime within the next ten years. I'm told this obligation will have to be recorded as a liability to the town, in which case it would diminish the Town’s credit worthiness and its ability to borrow money in the future.

Has the town planned for paying this obligation? If so where will the money come from? Is this the best use of town money?

Should not these questions be included in the deliberations?

Shawn Slome

Black Mountain