Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Public Facilities Authority - What the heck is it and why should we care?

The dB carried an article about Warrensburg's Public Facilities Authority (PFA); the DSJ hasn't, as yet. According to the article, "The PFA is a not-for-profit corporation owned by the city to lease public property back to the City of Warrensburg." My reaction - Huh? The City owns the property & the corporation, yet wants to lease back property it already owns from a corporation it also owns? Sounds like ENRON, to me.

Well, first I did some research in the Missouri Revised Statutes. I couldn't find the stautory authorization for a PFA, but I presume there's something hidden there somewhere; the City wouldn't up and do anything that wasn't somehow legal, however shady it may be. And, from reading between the lines, I think this is shady.

It appears that the purpose of the PFA is to allow governmental bodies to get work done that they don't have the money for. They either mortgage the building/facility (I understand that City Hall is mortgaged right now to support some previous work) or issue something called a Certificate of Participation. I can't find anything about that in the Missouri Revised Statutes, either.

What's the danger? The system allows one building to be used to guaranty a loan on another one. The loan escapes the normal bonding requirements - i.e., a public vote. I can't tell if it applies to the bonding limits established by the state constitution (because I can't find anything about it in the statutes).

Let's take this a step further - the article states that the PFA could be used by the school board. Could it also be used to mortgage the 1896 Courthouse and the county barn to build a new jail (the one that was voted down twice)? I'd sure like to see more Sunshine on our own little ENRON.

In Liberty


Post a Comment

<< Home