Letter to the Editor

Mysteries surround bus station funding

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To the editor:

This letter is about the outstanding award that Blytheville Main Street non-profit corporation won concerning the Greyhound bus station. There are some facts pertaining to this accomplishment that have not been told. This letter is an attempt to reveal the other side of the story. The data contained in this article were taken from Blytheville Courier newspaper articles over time.

By all indications, part of the bus station grant matching funds came from the heritage facility tax funds through the purchase of the Kress Building as the facility for the museum from Main Street Blytheville. The assessor's office records listed the appraisal value of the Kress facility as $68,900, and the purchase price for the facility was negotiated for $140,000. The excess funds "$71,030" over the value of the Kress facility were returned to the city of Blytheville for the purpose of purchasing the Greyhound bus station. By all indications, this action represented an illegal exaction in violation of the state constitution. It has also been documented that an ordinance was passed by the City Council to purchase the bus station using the grant funds, which would appear to also violate the law.

The information presented by the minutes of a meeting, as outlined in the newspaper article, indicated that the 20 percent matching funds for the Greyhound bus station grant was to be provided by the Main Street non-profit corporation. The city attorney stated in another newspaper article this past week that the city owed approximately $125,000 on the Greyhound bus station project and the money to pay that debt was missing, if ever present. If the Main Street Blytheville non-profit corporation gave this $125,000 to the city as was agreed upon, the question is " where did that money go"?

Another mystery concerning the bus station is that the project as a whole as shown on the county assessor's office is valued at $372,470. The calculations made by the architect, mayor and others indicated that the total cost would be $610,668. Why does this disparity exist between the assessor's office and the data of the city? By all indications, there maybe several hundred thousands of dollars missing or unaccounted for concerning this project.

Ray Clouse