Pensacola, It’s Time To Take Care Of Business

Pensacola and Escambia County are in the same economic boat as the rest of the country. The cost of running the government, the overhead, is not sustainable and needs fixing. Then there is the cost of operating facilities that the government need not be involved in, and you see a not so rosy economic picture for the County and the taxpayers who still have jobs.

Something needs to be done locally to turn this around. Waiting on rhetoric from Washington to fix our problem is irresponsible and suicide. What needs to be done is a combination of tightening the government’s belt and selling off ‘assets’ that it does not need.

One County commissioner, Gene Valentino, has suggested selling off  the Pensacola Civic Center.

The bed tax provides money to promote tourism, but only after it pays more than $1 million a year to help subsidize the Pensacola Civic Center.  County commissioners, unhappy that the subsidy may soar to $1.6 million this year, would like to change that.

Gene Valentino suggested selling it, but that idea has gone nowhere in better economic times, and it’s unlikely to draw many bids now.

But let’s not stop there. Put the Port of Pensacola on the market too!

What else are we paying for that could be better done in the private sector that would reduce our tax burden and improve our economic outlook? Leave nothing off the table. Include other real estate, policies, benefits, and procedures that will trim the cost of government, ie, the taxpayers’ overhead.

1. Pensacola Civic Center

2. Port of Pensacola

Add your suggestions in the comments below.

Link: Tourism By The Numbers by Mark O’Brien  |  Cash Cow Milked Enough by Reginald T. Dogan

4 thoughts on “Pensacola, It’s Time To Take Care Of Business”

  1. You won’t get any argument from me about the City not belonging in the real estate business. Sometimes it’s inevitable, unfortunately, and in the case of the Port, it’s the only was to have a Port.

    I doubt very much that anyone would be willing to purchase the Port property and continue operating it as a port. Ports, like airports, are almost universally government-operated. Even if we could offload the Port to private hands that kept using it as a port, we’d lose the control we have over it now. They could start handling cargo that downtown businesses and residents would find objectionable.

    The City would have to do the remediation or disclose it as terms of a sale. We can’t afford the remediation and without it the value of the property is severely depressed.

  2. I don’t know how I missed your point about ‘environmental remediation,’ but I did. If it were to be sold and used for the same use as it is today, there is no remediation necessary. Besides, if it were necessary, seems to me that it would be the responsibility of the owner, the city, to do it. Or if not, and tennent’s responsibility for remediation was not part of the lease, then that proves my point that the city doesn’t belong in the real estate business because the don’t know what they’re doing or how to do it. At any rate, it still does not justify keeping it to further soak the taxpayers.

    If they had their way, between the environmentalist lobby, their lawyers, and the Obama administration, and their lawyers, we here in Pensacola could add it to the tally of jobs lost or prevented. Never mind about that saved or created crap.

  3. The market is what it is. Were economic times better, sure we’d reap the benefits. However, they both would sell for the current market price, whatever that turns out to be. Cut our losses. Just like hundreds or thousands of homeowners have had to do in selling their homes, and moving out of the area. The losses and expenses associated with both don’t go away if we hold on to them. Besides all that, neither of them have made a profit yet. They are Pensacola’s albatross.

    The pass would be dredged because of the Navy, not the Port of Pensacola. Cut that federal umbilical cord. There is no money there. The new port owners would have to make their own arrangements for dredging. That’s private enterprise.

    There are more than these two examples of businesses that the city or county should not be involved in. The belief that the city and county should be the one to take on losing enterprises (as if they know how to run them) needs to be replaced with what works economically. If there’s a way to make it work economically, private enterprise will find a way to meet the demand and make it worthwhile. That burden doesn’t have to be borne by the taxpayers.

    Anything you would suggest for liquidation?

  4. I doubt anyone would buy the Civic Centre. The Port would probably sell but at a significantly depressed price due to the environmental remediation that would be required for just about anything anyone might want to do with the property.

    Also, keep in mind that if we sell the port, we no longer qualify for all sorts of state and federal grants, the pass doesn’t get dredged by the feds anymore, etc.

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