As Port of Port Royal sale lingers, public kept largely in the dark

Base image by Flickr user Chealion
Only a sliver of information about the delays in the public sale are being shared.

As the clock to close on the third deal for the sale of the Port of Port Royal nears 13 months, frustrations are growing over the lack of information sharing.

The deal has only some 30 days left on the clock before a final closing date of September 12, but the public agency at the helm of the sale, the S.C. Port Authority, has been sharing minimal information with the public — and apparently to the Town of Port Royal, too.

The Island Packet's Erin Moody write about the town's frustrations, in part: 

In its current role, Mayor Sam Murray said there's little the town can do to hasten the sale of the property. Throughout the process, the Ports Authority and developers have been close-lipped about the status of negotiations, citing exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act.


Read that article here.

On the same day the paper published that article, it buttressed it with an editorial saying that the public deserves to know more, in part:

But as deadlines for the purchase have come and gone with no closing, the public has too often been left to guess what is going on. No good excuse exists for the seller or the buyer to leave the public in the dark on basic details: Was the closing deadline met? Why not? Was an extension granted? At what cost to the buyer? How long is the extension? How many extensions are allowable? What role is the town playing, if any, in negotiations between the buyer and seller? ... That information should flow freely. Public bodies have an obligation to the people who live and pay taxes in Port Royal to keep them fully informed as a matter of course.

Read that editorial here.

A $17 million property in what is a relatively out of the way community is no easy deal for certain, but if that property sale falls through again, the town should work to renegotiate the status of the land.

If the current climate is unsuitable for a large development, then give the land to the public for not-too-costly partial conversion as a nature attraction for the town, and revisit the public sale and development at a future date.

The land shouldn't be kept from the public indefinitely because its government can't sell it.