Dix Lease Price Could Go Up, City Wants to Know by How Much

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Raleigh officials need to know how much the Dorothea Dix property the state wants to keep, but state officials don’t seem to be cooperating with the city.

The cost of not knowing could be about $194,000.

Earlier this month Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Gov. Pat McCrory reached a compromise and will create a new lease for the property between the city and the state.

While that agreement is still making its way through the state legislature, Raleigh Council members need to pass a balanced budget by the end of the month.

As part of the lease between the state and the city that was signed in December, the state will retain some of the Dix property, including some buildings and parking lots. That retained property is then deducted from the annual cost of the lease.

A review of the retained property will be done each year.

City Manager Russell Allen told the Record that originally, based on what the state wanted to retain, the city anticipated an annual lease payment of about $444,000.

Preliminary discussions with the Department of Health and Human Services staff brought the annual payment down to $250,000 because staff members had identified more property they wanted to retain.

Based on these discussions, the City Parks and Recreation Department only allocated $250,000 per year to the proposed budget, but an official calculation hasn’t happened yet.

The State’s Department of Administration has refused to talk with the city to finalize a number for the new lease.

According to a memo that was included in the City Council’s budget packet, “The most recent correspondence from the State of North Carolina Department of Administration and the Parks and Recreation Department state that all further discussions about the calculation of the retail premises is ‘premature’ until the State General Assembly gives the DOA further direction.”

The City’s first rent check is due mid-July, but Allen said that staff is still unsure how much will be due.

It’s possible that it could be for the full $444,000. Allen said that the additional $194,000 would have to come from somewhere else in the budget.

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