Monday, February 07, 2005

Look be-Fore! you Vote

The possibility exists that the County Council may vote on whether or not to issue $26 million in bonds to buy out the Maryland Economic Development Corporation's (MEDCO) financially troubled Compass Pointe Golf Course in Pasadena tonight. Other options include allowing the MEDCO-owned project to founder, which may hurt the County's credit rating because of a previously signed contract with MEDCO (which forced the County to pony up a $1.1 million loan last year), or paying the $3 million in cost overruns from the mismanaged project, and allowing MEDCO to keep ownership. This last option, bailing MEDCO out and then leaving the course to the quasi-public entity to reap potential revenues, seems objectively worst.

The real question, it seems to me, is how much, if at all, leaving MEDCO to deal with this disaster on its own, a strategy advanced by Councilwoman Barbara Samorajczyk (D - Annapolis), will affect the County's bond rating. If the answer is "very little, if at all," the County should consider itself lucky to have been able to avert this continued fiasco, and leave MEDCO to clean up the mess. There's certainly no use in throwing more good money after bad.

County Budget Officer, John Hammond, has played exceedingly coy throughout the proceedings on this matter, and continues to parrot support for Executive Owens' position, which involves buying out MEDCO. Additional deliberations on this matter should involve figuring out exactly how he let the County get into this ill-conceived deal in the first place.



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