Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Why should state taxpayers pay twice for the same building?

In 2002, WisDOT bought the Sigma-Aldrich chemical company facility in downtown Milwaukee as part of the Marquette Interchange project. 

WisDOT paid $32.5 million for the property using, I presume, public transportation dollars which were in the $800 million federal and state-financed project.

Now we see on the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board April 11 meeting agenda, below, that the Wisconsin DNR will buy the property from WisDOT for $3 million, moving the DNR's Southeast regional operations there from the King Dr. location: 

  1. Land and Improvements Acquisition – Southeastern Region Headquarters – Milwaukee County
    Citizen Testimony and Written Comment Welcome
    (Jim Lemke, Real Estate Section Chief)
Taxpayers already paid once for this property when WisDOT acquired it, so why should taxpayers pay for it a second time and move $3 million off the DNR's books to WisDOT's?

Does WisDOT have to pay the feds back for some of its share of the original property purchase? Did anyone ask the feds that long-ago expenditure?

Does WisDOT have to spend the money it will get from the DNR in the SE region, where the Zoo Interchange (WisDOT photos, below) is behind schedule?

Is this a clever way to get one-time 'found' money into WisDOT work underway and projected for Foxconn facility in Racine County?

I'm prepared to learn a public financing lesson that's above my pay grade, but the process just seems wrong to me.

It's not like the DNR is buying the property from a private party, or another state.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's kind of a shell game. Many state office buildings are leased from DOA. For example, DNR pays DOA rent on every square foot of GEF 2. It started under Thompson. DNR now has to budget for rent to DOA. DOA took these buildings, including University buildings without compensating the other agencies to the tune of millions of dollars. The real losers are the people of WI who have to pay for this nonsense. There are other hidden charge-backs to DOA too. Thanks for asking the question.