First let me say I love Boeing. I love the planes. I view Boeing as engaged in a magical business, flying giant planes through thin air thousands of miles with such utter reliability and safety that it seems routine. I am a shareholder in Boeing, and its success is my success.
So anytime I read an article like the recent one outlining the negotiation of Boeing to purchase the non-contiguous parcels of land from the Charleston County Aviation Authority, I must engage in a netting analysis that weighs my private gain against the detriment to the citizenry.
When you read an outcome like this, where the Charleston County Aviation Authority successfully negotiated its way down by millions in purchase price from what Boeing was willing to pay, and then allowed its spokesman to say we rolled the dice and lost, then you begin to wonder if it is indeed an April Fool’s joke, or if the authority members all wear red noses at their meetings.
I imagine we will soon see Andy Savage interrupting the court to ask for a longer sentence for his client, or perhaps Joe Riley will call James Island and offer to throw in all areas South of Broad into the new city.
The entire idea that the governmental entity is required to sell on an appraised price rather than a fair market value is a terrible downward departure from the good for all citizens of Charleston.
Rather than compute the value to Boeing of parcels contiguous to its already established building with taxiway access to an international grade runway, it looks like the Aviation Authority had the parcels appraised as though used car lots would be making use of the raw land.
Other details cry out to be addressed as well. Given the parcels are non-contiguous, divided by major traffic rights of way, I have to assume that Boeing intends to request a major relocation of the traffic routing to allow the parcels to be fully enjoyed. I assume that Boeing pays for that.
What is the agreement on that? That cost will dwarf the pitiful purchase price to be paid for the parcels.
I also assume that these parcels, unlike the major initial parcel, will be made available to pay their fair share of the property tax burden to support the infrastructure and schools of the Lowcountry.
Or perhaps not. In that case, I’ll take off my beaten down citizen’s hat and put on my shiny Boeing hat and revel in the ascending stock price as my private wealth enjoys yet another influx of public largess.
Thank God we don’t believe in government-business coordination in this state. Socialism, I think it used to be called.
Attorney at Law, Motley Rice LLC
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