Reading the story in the Arab American News few things stood out the first is this statement made by the CEO of H.Y.P.E
Sayed says that when it came time to choose a facility for the organization, he had over 30 locations that he could have chosen from, but settled on the location in Dearborn Heights after Mayor Dan Paletko was very supportive of the idea of opening up the facility in the city, verbally telling the organization that the city would do their best to recognize them as a non-profit charity. However, the tone from the city began to change when they billed H.Y.P.E. with $26,000 in property taxes in December 2011, while the building was still under construction. The organization is currently in the process of appealing that bill
That was the first mistake made having the Mayor of this City tell you anything verbally. Those of us who have had dealings with the Mayor in the past understand his words are cheap.
But despite the organization’s certification by the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth as a non profit organization in 2006, as well as being exempt from federal income tax by the Internal Revenue Service since 2008, the city is still giving the organization a hard time. According to Sayed, one of the main issues the city has with the organization is the membership rates that they charge individuals to use the facility. Adults for example are charged $29 a month for a membership, but Sayed says the costs are to maintain a staff of over 20 as well as provide equipment and uniforms for the facility. When comparing the membership rates to other venues, H.Y.P.E.’s rates are actually on the lower end. The YMCA, a tax exempt non profit charity for example, charges $59 a month for a membership.
This battle is far from over when the dust settles I hope we don’t find our City with an empty building or a rec center taken over by Wayne County.