Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Popping the Balloon

Here's another blast from the past that will be exploding in the near future.

Those of you who have been living here for a while, and who have been paying attention, may remember when the Transit Center was going in, and property was being bought and all manner of shell games were being played on that block downtown. Part of all that shuffling resulted in the City buying the now infamous Niichel property - a piece of property that's been worthless to the City, but that they've been making regular payments on for years.

This payment plan ends with a giant, million dollar final balloon payment - a payment that the City was supposed to be putting money away for, so they wouldn't get caught short. Well, the last I heard, the City had about $100,000 socked away for this, with the deadline looming very close indeed.

The POP will be louder than Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" by far.
Why hasn't the City been more diligent? Why hasn't PADA held up their end of the bargain? Why has the City Council been asleep at the switch for this? Why, because this is Port Angeles.

Anyone think that having a nearly million dollar hole blown in the City budget - on top of everything else and all the other debt they've loaded on - is going to be a happy event?


  1. Hey, it's okay. We are going to spend that million on a new "Pocket Beach" down on the waterfront where they have signs saying don't swim after a rain there may be "floaters" in the water. I guess that is another pet project to appease little loud-mouth Edna.

  2. Aaaah, yes. The Niichel property debt. Another land mine left by the Rogers-Madsen-Williams regime. As I recall, the terms of the deal prevent pre-payment of the principal, and require the city to pay annual interest payments to Niichel of around 7%. A very sweet deal to the property seller.
    I also seem to recall that in order to support the purchase of this property, Nathan West (then a more junior city staffer) helped to hastily prepare a parking study to demonstrate the need.

    1. Nathan West...Always so eager to "help" get a harebrained scheme get going - and keep going. He's so ambitious. Too bad he's also morally bankrupt, eh?

    2. Brown nosing has managed to get him further along in his ambitions than relying upon his dubious "talent". Maybe he feels that's what you have to do to get ahead in Port Angeles if you're not related to KR or EP or a good 'ol boy.

    3. Nathan is trapped here. I'm guessing that at one point hoped that his time spent here would be the springboard to something bigger and better elsewhere; clearly Port Angeles isn't a springboard to anyone except oblivion.

      So now, Nathan is stuck here professionally, and personally, having to live his life in the backwards, lopsided cesspool of a henhouse he's helped to create. I guess that punishment fits the crime all right, but why do so many others have to suffer alongside him?

  3. Port Angeles Ordinance 3228, adopted December 20, 2005, authorized the purchase of the Niichel property. The city's internally-produced parking study is attached as support for the need. Mayor Rich Headrick, on behalf of the city, signed the ordinance that took effect on Christmas Day. City attorney Bill Bloor approved the document "as to form".
    The city needs to declare this piece of property as surplus, sell it, and put the funds into the account to be used to pay off the million dollar balloon payment. Maybe an entrepreneur would buy it and turn it into a convention center/restaurant/marine center? The parcel was never used for the Gateway project.

  4. Language from the Long Term General obligation "Bond" entered-into to purchase the Niichel property for $1,200,000: (see City of PA Ordinance 3241, March 21,2006)
    "WHEREAS as provided by the Agreement the Council has determined that it is in the best interest of the City and its residents to finance the purchase of the Property by issuing to the Seller as such term is defined in the Agreement a limited tax general obligation bond of the City in the principal amount of $1,200 000 and
    "WHEREAS the Council wishes to authorize issuance of the Bond to the Seller in satisfaction ofthe Agreement as provided in this ordinance...
    "The City has irrevocably covenanted with the owner of this Bond[Niichel] that it will annually include in its budget and levy taxes on all taxable property in the City within and as part of the property taxes authorized by law to be levied by the City without a vote of the people in an amount that together with other lawfully available funds will be sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the Bond as the same shall become due. The full faith credit and resources of
    the City are hereby irrevocably pledged for the annual levy and collection of such taxes and the prompt payment of such principal and interest. This Bond is not secured by the grant of any security interest mortgage lien or other right encumbrance or interest in the Property."

  5. Oops! My mistake. I should have said Niichel, not Heckman. I've corrected it in the original posting.

  6. Why is it that they stupid people who run this stupid city can't do anything stupid without it also being so incredibly EXPENSIVE? A million dollars for any piece of property downtown is ridiculous. Even the ferries are shrinking. Surely there's no value to be had to really account for this debacle???

  7. Anon 8:50pm, at the time, there were 2 ferries, multiple sailings, and town was awash in cars that would park for hours waiting to board the next ferry. Then....(cue threatening music)...our government decided to impose passport restrictions on passage to Canada (previously, all you needed was some American ID -- drivers license, birth certificate, etc.) ...and, add to that, a very, VERY publicly announced (newspapers, radio and news reports in the greater Seattle area) stepped up campaign to make the "roads safer" (cue kettle drums) by doing wolf-pack stings (up to 9 troopers) and ticketing everything and anything (over 3mph over the speed limit, headlights out, no seat belts, whatever).
    Give some Big City FOLK some expensive traffic tickets out here in the boonies, and see how keen they are to return. Make crossing to Victoria EXPENSIVE (passports for a family of four is a significant expense).
    And, lets say, that with the crooks we had mulling around back then, a million dollar "deal" was something that the PDN never reported.
    Bloor should be in jail. His job isn't to protect the sleeze, it is to protect the citizens. FAIL.

    1. Port Angeles: You'll Come for the Illusion of Small Town Charm, but You'll Stay to Make Your Court Date!

  8. Considering how thin-skinned Tom Harper is about comments concerning his wife's weight, you'd think he might not be so open to posting comments denigrating "Barb the Blob" from the PADA...Do as he says, not as he does, I guess.

  9. A thought:
    If memory serves me correct, the Niichel property once had a service station on it. If the property is contaminated and not full disclosure to the city. Then the city can back out of the deal based on the cradle to grave laws.
    So the city i.e. Bloor (if he's smart enough) has a way out.
    The property can revert back to the original owner. Then that owner can either clean it up or let it sit (like the Rayonier property).