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Gatehouse hotel rendering

Mason City officials have finalized a deal with Gatehouse to develop a downtown hotel.

Transparency is the foundation of “good governance.” When city officials are transparent, it shows they are brave enough to welcome your criticism and are open to positive and negative feedback. Therefore, it is important that city officials provide you with the same information they use to spend your tax money.

So, do you think city officials have given you a full accounting on the River City Renaissance Project? For example: Why have they decided to give Gatehouse/David Rachie a non-repayable $8.7 million-dollar contribution, $1 million in pre-construction funding, and 50% of the Local Hotel Tax Rebates for 80 consecutive quarters?

When the City Council devised the River City Renaissance Project did you know they were offering enticements to a developer, which included “loans, grants, tax rebates, infrastructure assistance and other incentives”? Were you aware of those developer inducements before you voted for selling $25.4 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds on November 7, 2017?

Are you aware the city is borrowing money from GO bond buyers pledging to use all available resources, even tax revenues, to repay the debt, which means that should the River City Renaissance project encounter fiscal difficulties, and fails to generate sufficient revenue to pay the bond debt, the city can raise your property taxes to offset the shortfall.

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Additionally, has Gatehouse/Rachie provided “Evidence of financial ability to complete the project” which was compulsory in the city’s original "Request for Qualifications”? If he has, why then is the city advancing him “Pre-Construction Funding” in an amount “not to exceed $1,000,000 in the aggregate”?

It’s well to remember that the city terminated its agreement with G8 Development/ Philip Chodur after he failed to deliver “Evidence of financial ability to complete the project” to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Transparency, transparency, wherefore art thou?

Lionel Foster, Mason City

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