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With Dix property an issue, Wake delegation meeting Monday should be hot

Expect an earful about the Dix property deal on Monday when the Wake County House and Senate delegation holds an open meeting.

The delegation meeting, set for 4 p.m., was moved to a larger venue, Room 643, of the Legislative Office Building because of the expected large turnout.

Among those sending out twitter feeds urging people to attend are Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane saying “support Dix Park, wear green, come early to Wake Delegation Mtg. Monday.''

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to revoke a lease for the Dix property signed by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.

Perdue makes ceremonial splash with Dix lease signing

Gov. Bev Perdue and the Raleigh mayor signed a lease Friday giving the keys for the Dorothea Dix Hospital property to the city, the final step in a decade-long, controversial effort to preserve the 325-acre property on the edge of downtown.

The outgoing Democratic governor signed the document with ceremonial flourish in the old House chamber using 10 pens and an antique, hand-press stamp to emboss the document.

“We understand that preservation of God’s best resources, like Dix park, is part of the common good,” Perdue said, later quoting President Teddy Roosevelt, a passionate conservationist. “I’m proud of this for all the people of the state.”

Gov. Perdue, Raleigh mayor to sign Dix property lease agreement Friday

Gov. Bev Perdue on Friday will sign official documents with the City of Raleigh to lease the Dix Hospital property for use as a public park.

The two parties negotiated the terms of the lease after the Council of State approved the controversial deal in a Dec. 4 vote. The signing ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the old Senate chambers at the Capitol. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland and the governor will take part.

Morning Roundup: McCrory keeps ties to private firms amid transition

A month after his election, Gov.-elect Pat McCrory remains employed at a law firm that lobbies state government even as he establishes his administration and controls a $660,000 pot of taxpayer money.

His dual role creates a potential conflict that makes government watchdogs uncomfortable. Another ethical move McCrory should consider, they suggest, is putting his assets in a blind trust. Read full story here.

More political headlines:

--Legislators seeking to eliminate $2.4 billion the state of North Carolina owes the federal government to help pay jobless benefits are prepared to unveil a proposal they also say would put the state unemployment insurance program on firmer financial footing.

McCrory convenes new Council of State, declines to back Berger

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory convened an informal Council of State meeting hours after the current panel met Tuesday to decide the Dix land lease deal.

At the meeting of the incoming Council of State, the Dix vote from earlier in the morning didn't get discussed, said McCrory spokesman Chris Walker. It was more of a get-to-know-everyone meeting, he said, in which all pledged to work together.

Through the spokesman, McCrory declined to comment on the Dix deal and wouldn't publicly support Republican Senate leader Phil Berger's efforts to find a legal way to block the lease to the City of Raleigh.

Senate leader is looking to terminate just-approved Dix deal

Moments after the Council of State approved the Dix deal, a Republican legislative leader pledged to undo it. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said he is evaluating legal options to terminate the lease.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that a majority of the Council of State caved into political pressure at the expense of good sense,” he said in a statement issued by his office. "The Senate will begin evaluating legal options to terminate this ill-conceived lease and reclaim this land on behalf of its real owners: the people of North Carolina.”

The state still owns the land, regardless of what Berger suggested. And its unclear if other Republicans would support him. House Speaker Thom Tillis has not yet weighed in on the decision, nor has Gov.-elect Pat McCrory.

Perdue, Council of State approve Dix deal

UPDATED: Led by Gov. Bev Perdue, North Carolina officials voted Tuesday to allow the city to develop a major park at the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus, in a lease that will cost Raleigh about $68 million over 75 years.

The Council of State approved the controversial deal by a 6-2 vote with one abstaining after a vigorous discussion about whether it is a good deal for the state. 

In memo, Berger says Dix deal is undervalued

UPDATED: A day before the vote on the Dix property, Senate leader Phil Berger sent a letter to the Council of State that suggest the state isn't getting enough money under the terms of the lease deal.

Berger, an Eden Republican, asked legislative staff to analyze the deal to lease the Dorothea Dix property to the city of Raleigh for $500,000 a year with annual increases -- worth $68.5 million. 

A memo from Fiscal Research staffers suggests the actual value of the lease is $22.6 million after factoring in inflation. Berger says the state could get more money if it sold the land, but Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue is proposing leasing the land -- not selling it.

Letter to Council of State_12.3.12.pdf
DixCampus_Senator Berger_vFinal_December _2012.pdf

Perdue puts forth Dix deal for Council of State vote Tuesday

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will ask state leaders to lease the 325-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the city for $68 million over 75 years – a move that would enable Raleigh to fulfill its vision for a major urban park on a valuable tract of state land just south of downtown.

The Council of State will vote on whether to enter the lease deal at its meeting Tuesday.

McCrory listed as advisor to Dix park plan he now wants delayed

The roster of leaders guiding the Dix Visionaries' effort to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a park includes one name that stands out: Pat McCrory.

The Republican governor-elect is listed among 80 members of the Dix Visionaries Business Advisory Council. But now McCrory is seeking to block an effort by the Dix Visionaries and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to approve a plan in December to lease the property to the city for a park.

A spokesman for McCrory's transition team said Wednesday that McCrory has never been involved with Dix Visionaries. But the group disagrees.

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