One day after Governor Pat McCrory announced the state would sell the Dorothea Dix campus to Raleigh, at least two state Senators voiced reservations about the deal.
Mitchell County Senator Ralph Hise told WRAL-TV the $52 million transaction was “on the lower end” of what would be acceptable.
Senator Louis Pate told the Raleigh News & Observer he has his own concerns:
“I don’t know that the state is in a better position or not, the way this agreement reads,” said Pate, who represents parts of Lenoir, Pitt and Wayne counties. “I think we need to sit back and take a long look at it before we put our stamp on it.”
Legislators won’t need to put their stamp on the deal, that will be up to the NC Council of State. However Senators could intervene, as they did when then-Governor Beverly Perdue first sold the Dix property to Raleigh.
As the N&O reports:
…legislators could file a bill seeking to amend or revoke the deal, much as they did in 2013. Pate said he “can’t say” what legislative leaders might do, and it’s too soon to speculate on any action. Senate leader Phil Berger’s spokeswoman said he was still reviewing the deal Tuesday and had no comment.
Pate said his biggest concern is the price. While Gov. Pat McCrory said the $52 million will go toward mental health services, Pate says that amount “can be spent in a heartbeat around here .”
Sen. Hise says a decision to get involved in the deal really comes down to the Governor’s plans for relocating the state Health and Human Service workers, who are currently working on the Dix property.
For her part, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane is optimistic this is a done deal, and the city can begin the planning process for the 308-acre “destination” park.
McFarlane is our guest this weekend on NC Policy Watch’s News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon. For a preview of that radio interview, click below: