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Price of free Costco samples in MoCo: $4 million

May 17, 2011 - 12:45 PM
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Costco, home of legendary samples and cheap bulk items, is coming to Wheaton in 2012, reports the Washington Post. The deal won’t come cheap to MoCo residents—the county is forking over $4 million to shopping mall giant Westfield over two years to help secure the deal. A county council proposal to block that subsidy was defeated Monday.

Doling out that kind of cash when the county faces a $300 million budget shortfall next year doesn’t look so great to some residents, including a few on the council. Marc Elrich told the Post that “the idea of giving $2 million of our scarce dollars to Westfield is a mistake. We can take this $2 million and put it to better use in our community.”

Other council members thought it would be a bad precedent to block money that was previously promised to Westfield, and that it would hurt the reputation of the county. “The integrity of the county is at stake,” Hans Riemer said, “and I don’t think it’s my right to jeopardize the integrity of the county.” County supervisor Ike Leggett hopes the Costco will bring jobs and revenue to the eastern part of the county.

Washington Post readers crapped all over the deal, outraged that taxpayer money is being handed to a corporation while public schools face cuts. One reader expressed that he is “disgusted” and concerned over the economic future of the county. He does conclude, though, that the opening of the Wheaton Costco will hopefully “make the current location in MV less crowded.”

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