Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mineral museum rent subsidized Arizona Historical Society

When the centennial museum was announced in early 2010, the justification offered was that it would be able to support the rent for the building and the mineral museum could not. The first post on this blog showed the story was a hoax because the rent budget was simply transferred from the mineral museum to the AHS. Now, further investigation of the bizarre rent policies for State owned buildings has revealed the ultimate outrage. A portion of the excessive rent charged for the state owned mineral museum building was actually subsidizing the Arizona Historical Society.

State agencies occupying state owned or state leased buildings pay rent to the Department of Administration. The money is deposited into the Capital Outlay Stabilization Fund (COSF), which pays for utilities, maintenance, grounds services, operating supplies, and janitorial services.

However, there is a dirty little secret. Most agencies have been exempted from rent payments by statute.  Their buildings are still serviced and maintained by the COSF. Of the 4 million gross square feet (GSF) of floor space owned and leased by the state, rent is collected on only 1.3 million GSF. That explains the ridiculous $524,700 rent for the mineral museum. It should have been only $170, 500.

The complete story, however, is even worse than that. Some agencies have extra special treatment and have specific state expenses paid right off the top out of the COSF. They include:

 All utility costs for the Arizona Supreme court 

 Virtually all costs for the House and Senate buildings

The annual lease purchase payment for the ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S Marley Center  Museum in Papago Park (Tempe).

The AHS political connections and lobbyist provide it with so much preferential treatment that the true cost to taxpayers is virtually impossible to determine.

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