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monroegardener
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  09:56:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

http://www.middletownjournal.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/05/01/mj050108monroeboard.html

School board double-checks tax deal

Monroe city official calls district's actions 'petty' and warns board it is risking a possible lawsuit.

Click-2-Listen
By Denise Wilson
Staff Writer
Thursday, May 01, 2008

MONROE Fear of approving two 100 percent tax abatements for Home Depot is the reason the Board of Education has twice delayed a vote, officials said this week.

However, a city official is calling the district's actions "petty" and says it is risking a lawsuit for delaying the project when it already signed off on a tax incentive package a year ago.

For the second time in two weeks, the board on Monday, April 28, delayed making a decision on the deal between the city and developer Vandercar Holdings Inc. for the home improvement retailer to locate a $33.9 million regional distribution facility at Corridor 75 Park off Ohio 63 and Interstate 75 in Warren County.

The delay also for the second time in two weeks forced the cancellation of a Monroe City Council special meeting to take a final vote on the project.

Monroe Local Schools last year approved community reinvestment area agreements calling for a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement between the city and VH Monroe LLC, which is developing more than 440 acres at the park, and VH Monroe II, LLC, an affiliate of the developer.

Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the wording in the resolution which was drafted by district attorneys makes it appear as if the district is reapproving the same abatements for Home Depot.

"I think the board needs to have clarification from the attorneys," Lolli said.

Monroe Councilman Bob Kelley said the board was provided information that shows it is not approving tax incentives for a second time, and that time is running short for the board to stay within the 45-day window from the time the matter was submitted in February.

"After that point in time, they could possibly open themselves up to litigation if Vandercar would choose to pursue that," Kelley said. "Personally, I think it's petty on their part to be doing this now. I don't know what they hope to achieve.

"They have the potential right now to stall three-quarters of a billion dollars in development in the city of Monroe because they don't like the way the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed. That could substantially impact future developments for the city of Monroe," Kelley said.

However, Kelley said he doesn't think the delay would cause Home Depot officials to back out of locating to Warren County.

He said the board is contractually bound to pass the legislation because it already agreed to the incentives as part of the development agreement.

The board has called a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Friday, May 2, the purpose of which Lolli said is to meet with attorneys to alter resolution language.

Contact this reporter at (513) 483-5219 or dewilson@coxohio.com.

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. -John Muir, Naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)

monroegardener
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:14:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Perhaps if the councilman weren't at war with the board, they could work constructively together at resolving this.

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. -John Muir, Naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)
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buckeyenut
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:22:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

"The board has called a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Friday, May 2, the purpose of which Lolli said is to meet with attorneys to alter resolution language"

They are a school, therefore call an English teacher and let's get the show on the road. The property is already abated, Home Depot will be a great neighbor, and the Board has delayed this twice to get the language "just right". C'mon. This is making Monroe look ridiculous. We want to attract business, not drive them away with small town politics.
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HBG
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:24:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

The worst thing about this is that THEIR attorney drafted it...WTH???

My dad used to say, 'You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did.
Phil McGraw
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buckeyenut
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:33:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Ah, our tax dollars at work!! Gee Mindi, thanks for sharing!
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webski
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:34:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Here might be another reason to get the ball moving. JMO.



AP
Home Depot to close 15 US stores, cites poor performance
Thursday May 1, 10:20 am ET
By Harry R. Weber, AP Business Writer
Home Depot to close 15 namesake stores in the US, first such move for poor performance


ATLANTA (AP) -- The Home Depot is closing 15 of its namesake stores, affecting 1,300 employees. It is the first time the home improvement retailer has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons.
ADVERTISEMENT


The Atlanta-based company said Thursday that the underperforming U.S. stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

The stores to be closed consist of three in Wisconsin, two in Ohio, two in New Jersey, two in Indiana and one each in Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York and Vermont.

A company spokesman said some of the employees will be relocated, while others could lose their jobs.

Spokesman Ron DeFeo said Home Depot has only closed one of its flagship stores previously because of structural damage.

The company reiterated its intention to open 55 new stores in the 2009 fiscal year.

Due to the store closings, Home Depot will record a charge of roughly $186 million, including inventory markdowns of $11 million and severance of $8 million. It also will record a charge of roughly $400 million related to development costs and ongoing obligations associated with the future store locations that it is scrapping.

New store capital spending will be reduced by $1 billion over the next three years, Home Depot said.

Excluding charges, the company reiterated that its diluted earnings per share from continuing operations are expected to decline by 19 percent to 24 for fiscal 2008. Home Depot releases its first-quarter results May 20.

Its shares rose 83 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $29.63 in morning trading.

Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement store chain. It operates 2,258 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China.







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loaner288
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:44:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Once again.....jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts.

I did find it ironic how Councilman Kelley was upset about "dotting eyes and dotting t's", as he has been very vocal about them not being detail oriented enough in the past.
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John Beagle
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:50:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by loaner288[/i]
[br]Once again.....jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts.

I did find it ironic how Councilman Kelley was upset about "dotting eyes and dotting t's", as he has been very vocal about them not being detail oriented enough in the past.


Yes, that is ironic about Bob. But what is taking the schools so long. This does not look like a reasonable delay from where I'm sitting.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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buckeyenut
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:52:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Now this is a bit disconcerning! I wouldn't delay this thing one minute longer. I'd hate for them to walk away from Monroe. I admit I was surprised HD wanted to build a huge distribution center here considered the midwest stores have less than steller sales figures. I frequent the stores at Bridgewater and VOA and I'm shocked everytime I walk in. They are nearly empty.

In Cali, they are so busy they even have stores open 24 hours and McDonalds inside to keep up with the traffic. Parking is a nightmare. I know it sounds funny, but we used to go to the one in Marina Del Rey every Friday night, have a filet o fish for dinner and pick up stuff for weekend projects. Yeah, that does sound kinda weird but we weren't the only ones! 24 hour stores come in handy, too. I was at a friends house late one night, we were all playing cards and of all things the toilet tank busted about 2am. Water was going everywhere. She called the oncall maintenance guy at her complex and they came out and ran to HD at 3am, got a new toilet and had it installed by 4am!

Now if only we could get our economy out of the crapper and boost some home sales...
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buckeyenut
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  10:55:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by loaner288[/i]
[br]Once again.....jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts.

I did find it ironic how Councilman Kelley was upset about "dotting eyes and dotting t's", as he has been very vocal about them not being detail oriented enough in the past.



How else do we get the facts if the only place reporting the story is the Journal?
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Bretland
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  11:37:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Wait a second!!!!!

The citizens of Monroe keep re-electing some of the same folks (I guess because they like them) to the School Board and City Council. Then, they (you) complain that they still can't work out these types of deals.

STOP IT!!!!!!! Change comes with new people - not the old ones. You didn't change when you had the chance so now you have to live with what you got.

JMO

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  11:40:01 AM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Their own attorney dotted the I's and crossed the T's...now there is a problem. No matter how they choose to spin it, there was a contract signed to process the paper work for the CRA. The language was agreed to, do you expect they will be allowed to just change the contract after the fact because they don't like the words they themselves have chosen to approve? They are also well aware of the consequences if they choose not to process it as they agreed to.
quote:
Originally posted by John Beagle

quote:
Originally posted by loaner288

Once again.....jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts.

I did find it ironic how Councilman Kelley was upset about "dotting eyes and dotting t's", as he has been very vocal about them not being detail oriented enough in the past.


Yes, that is ironic about Bob. But what is taking the schools so long. This does not look like a reasonable delay from where I'm sitting.


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Star_Rider
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  12:02:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Most do not want change, they just want to B!TCH about stuff.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bretland[/i]
[br]Wait a second!!!!!

The citizens of Monroe keep re-electing some of the same folks (I guess because they like them) to the School Board and City Council. Then, they (you) complain that they still can't work out these types of deals.

STOP IT!!!!!!! Change comes with new people - not the old ones. You didn't change when you had the chance so now you have to live with what you got.

JMO

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webski
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  12:09:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I plead stupidity on last election, I was new to Monroe and did not know anyone that was running. I can say I learn more each day by reading about the issues and the people in office now.



quote:
[i]Originally posted by Star_Rider[/i]
[br]Most do not want change, they just want to B!TCH about stuff.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bretland[/i]
[br]Wait a second!!!!!

The citizens of Monroe keep re-electing some of the same folks (I guess because they like them) to the School Board and City Council. Then, they (you) complain that they still can't work out these types of deals.

STOP IT!!!!!!! Change comes with new people - not the old ones. You didn't change when you had the chance so now you have to live with what you got.

JMO





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monroegardener
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  12:12:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Ditto.
quote:
[i]Originally posted by webski[/i]
[br]I plead stupidity on last election, I was new to Monroe and did not know anyone that was running. I can say I learn more each day by reading about the issues and the people in office now.



quote:
[i]Originally posted by Star_Rider[/i]
[br]Most do not want change, they just want to B!TCH about stuff.

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bretland[/i]
[br]Wait a second!!!!!

The citizens of Monroe keep re-electing some of the same folks (I guess because they like them) to the School Board and City Council. Then, they (you) complain that they still can't work out these types of deals.

STOP IT!!!!!!! Change comes with new people - not the old ones. You didn't change when you had the chance so now you have to live with what you got.

JMO






Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. -John Muir, Naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)
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Tom B
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  12:33:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Tom B's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

We are just four weeks into a nine week statutory approval period. This needs to be done right. And it will be.

Tom Birdwell

Opinions written here are mine alone, and may not reflect the views of other board members.


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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  1:50:29 PM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

And for the record, the council and the school board are not at odds over this. It's their issue to deal with. We will deal with our own accordingly.

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Bretland
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  1:58:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

how about we (the citizens) throw a couple of the main players in a room and demand that they have an agreed upon solution by next Monday.
Cut the CRA* and just get it over with. It doesn't really matter what the final outcome is, just get an agreed upon solution and move forward.
It's not about "our issue" or "their issue" it's about doing the job that the voters elected them to do.

Isn't it??????

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  2:14:41 PM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

You don't understand, it's already done. There is a development agreement that spells out everything, that's what all the hoopla was about a year ago. This is still the same deal, nothing new, nothing additional. The paper work we both have defines the abatement for the individual buildings. That's all. It's a rubber stamp approval. The negotiating was done a year ago.
quote:
Originally posted by Bretland

how about we (the citizens) throw a couple of the main players in a room and demand that they have an agreed upon solution by next Monday.
Cut the CRA* and just get it over with. It doesn't really matter what the final outcome is, just get an agreed upon solution and move forward.
It's not about "our issue" or "their issue" it's about doing the job that the voters elected them to do.

Isn't it??????


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zubrU2
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  3:29:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Who is the attorney for the board? Just curious.
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Bretland
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  3:35:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Bob,

If it's a done deal what's all this commenting about????

Tom,

Do you agree it's a done deal?????????????


It appears as though some people think the final decision is still up for debate. If that's not the case, can someone contact the Journal and have them interview the appropriate person(s) and get the correct information out to the public?

"There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those that don't."
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  3:54:17 PM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

The Journal is not under the opinion that it's still up for debate, at least that's what they told me.

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Instigator
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  9:23:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I love it when a plan comes together.
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buck35
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  9:29:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

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Instigator
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Posted - 05/01/2008 :  9:45:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

In perfect harmony. LOL
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blueblood
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Posted - 05/02/2008 :  05:43:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by buck35[/i]
[br]





Why does that song make me thirsty??? Do you know what I'm saying?

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
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HBG
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Posted - 05/02/2008 :  06:38:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I can honestly say that while I knew it was a song, I am not sure I had ever heard "the real thing" before now.

My dad used to say, 'You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did.
Phil McGraw
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John Beagle
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Posted - 05/05/2008 :  09:15:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

This needs to be resolved this week.
The delay may jeopardize potential for other projects in this zoning area.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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ClarkWestern1
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Posted - 05/05/2008 :  09:34:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Note to City of Trenton:
First task for Economic Development Director-steal Home Depot project from Monroe whilst the petty bickering continues...

"Just spittin out words to see where they splatter."
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blueblood
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Posted - 05/05/2008 :  09:49:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by ClarkWestern1[/i]
[br]Note to City of Trenton:
First task for Economic Development Director-steal Home Depot project from Monroe whilst the petty bickering continues...



You can have it, but all your trucks have to go through Madison!!All those trucks a day going through Trenton will make everyday like citywide yard sale/garage sale weekend.

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
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ClarkWestern1
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Posted - 05/05/2008 :  09:51:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

That's OK-they can park 'em on the nice, new, shiny bridge when it's done-as long as they don't interrupt the mating Indiana bats..

"Just spittin out words to see where they splatter."
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John Beagle
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Posted - 05/05/2008 :  2:04:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by ClarkWestern1[/i]
[br]Note to City of Trenton:
First task for Economic Development Director-steal Home Depot project from Monroe whilst the petty bickering continues...


Notice to Warren county:

Looking for other suitable locations for large distribution warehouse. Please provide us with suitable locations.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Tom B
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  01:50:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tom B's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

I know this is long, but let's clear up a few things. Again, I can't and don't speak for the district or the board. I can only speak for myself.

First, ignore the rhetoric about the Home Depot project going elsewhere. Instead, it is proceeding along just fine. See John Beagle's photographs posted today of its walls going up. Given that, it is hard to justify that the school board's taking the time to do this abatement action in the best possible manner is hurting anything.

Second, despite claims to the contrary, the school district is still well within the 45 day statutory window for completion of abatement discussions and action. I feel sure the district will have a final decision before this approval time window is up.

Third, despite the title of this thread, and many comments here to the contrary, there simply is no battle between the school district and the city over the Home Depot project. Check the record. Not a single board member or school administrator has even hinted of a problem between us. With one exception, the same is true of the city council and the city's administrators. Again, with one notable exception, nobody in the city seems unhappy with the district's delay, in its attempt to achieve final closure on the I75 Corridor Park. This is about finding the best legal solution to a problem, not a city-school battle.

So why is there a delay on the school's processing the Vandercar/Home Depot resolution? From my perspective at least, it is because I wanted to take the time to do this right, to clear up some ambiguities from last year, and to put a long term solution for the entire I75 Corridor Park in place, instead of another Band-Aid. Here is the issue, as I see it.

Vandercar has a 15 year, 100% abatement in place, on the largest business/industrial park in southwest Ohio. If it were in my power to do so, I would end it. But for better or for worse, to me there seems little choice for the district but to accept it and move forward. But what is the best way to move forward? THAT is the issue at hand.

A year ago, the school board understood from its attorney that the Vandercar project would be covered with a single resolution, passed last July. I was very surprised last month to learn that not only was the Vandercar action incomplete, but the way the law seems to work here, the school board will be forced to consider new individual abatement resolutions for each and every business and building in the project, over the next four year period.

This is NOT just one vote, on one business, Home Depot. Instead this is just the first of perhaps 16 individual projects in the I75 Corridor Park that must be approved. If the district can't implement a single step solution here, getting this over with, then it is going to have sixteen separate abatement actions on the board's upcoming agendas, even as it is trying to get three levys renewed, and probably a bond issue as well. That is a bad situation. The public will not understand having levys on the ballot, and reading in the paper about abatements, even if the district no longer has any choice in approving the abatements. In my opinion, it was worth taking the time to try to find a way to get this over and done with, instead of dragging it out over four years, and creating an ongoing public impression that the school district is freely giving away tax dollars, even as it asks for levy renewals and a bond issue.

If the district could find a way to get this over and done with, in a single resolution action, it would most certainly be openly supported and approved by the city as well. They have no more desire to have 16 separate resolutions and votes than the school district does. So suggesting that there is a battle between schools and city, or that this is petty action of dotting I's and crossing T's, does both organizations a gross injustice. So far at least, there does not seem to be a way to combine these into one action. I wish there was. But it certainly was worth taking the time to try to find one.

It is very unfortunate that some found it necessary to again engage the Journal and the Voice, forming hostilities between school and city, where none really existed at all. An action to permanently resolve a potential thorn in the district's side was described in the Journal as petty, along with the comment "I don't know what they hope to achieve." If you don't know, just ask. Don't undermine a working relationship between schools and city through ignorance. How the heck are the district and city to ever to join hands in such a personally accusatory environment?

Again, this is not a battle or disagreement between city and schools. It simply is an attempt to forge a long term solution to a significant problem.

Tom Birdwell

Opinions written here are mine alone, and may not reflect the views of other board members.


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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  08:27:10 AM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

You should have been a DJ Tom. You want to tell the whole story now or would you like me to do that? The email you sent the city and the council would be a good starting point.

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ClarkWestern1
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  08:40:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Sounds like the language difference is over the words "liars" and "deceivers"...

"Just spittin out words to see where they splatter."
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Tracy
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  08:47:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Tom, who is the law firm that the school board uses?

TRACY
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Tom B
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  09:16:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tom B's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Tracy[/i]
[br]Tom, who is the law firm that the school board uses?



Enis, Roberts, and Fisher was the prime one here, Bill Deters. There are two others, one for facilities construction representation, and another for some speciality issues.

Tom Birdwell

Opinions written here are mine alone, and may not reflect the views of other board members.


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Tom B
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  09:36:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tom B's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

quote:
[i]Originally posted by Bob Kelley[/i]
[br]You should have been a DJ Tom. You want to tell the whole story now or would you like me to do that? The email you sent the city and the council would be a good starting point.



You mean the one where I wrote:

quote:
[i][br]"It is unfortunate that the district's approval of this small TIF change was later characterized on the Voice as district endorsement of the large 60 plus mill tax abatement granted Vandercar. Had this characterization not taken place, I would not have found it necessary to ask that the April resolution be tabled and its language changed. If this delay has caused Vandercar or Home Depot unnecessary delay I am sorry, but with four levy renewals on the books in the next four years, in my opinion the district simply can't afford to appear to freely endorse this project's 100% abatement. If there indeed are 16 forthcoming approvals required for the Vandercar project, in my opinion, each must face similar district scrutiny. I certainly hope that a way is found to avoid this continuing resolution passage being necessary.

To put this abatement's fiscal reality in perspective, Kelley Thorpe estimates that Home Depot's movement from Commerce Park to the Vandercar site will result in a net school tax reduction of more than $7,000,000 over the life of its abatement. This certainly is one of the larger projects that will go into Vandercar, but with 16 similar future projects there, this is a huge tax loss for the district, easily enough to fully fund all of the district's future facility needs, and much more. I certainly don't accept the original city assumption that this very large project can proceed without causing significant district enrollment gains, and growing school expenses that have no offsetting business tax revenues. Thus our community's residents will be forced to pay for any enrollment gains that result from the Vandercar project, sans business taxes.

For better or for worse, we must learn to live with the abatements granted the Vandercar project. I hope that each of you will support the district's need to present this ongoing approval process to the public in a positive manner, so that they don't come to believe that the district willingly passed up such large business taxes, instead seeking additional homeowner taxes to fund district needs. None of us will be helped if this view is gained by the public. I seek any support you can provide to ensure such a public misperception does not take place."



I stand by it. If I could stop the whole abatement, I would. But I can't. That has been a consistent position. Given that it was going to happen, with or without my support or objection, I worked to get the best deal possible for the district's taxpayers, the conversion of the rest of the land in Monroe into "post 94" rules, where absolute abatements outside of the Vandercar project can no longer be granted without board approval. That effort was successful.

I sought a means of getting the upcoming sixteen issues combined and over with. Again, please note the prime request in that email. "I certainly hope that a way is found to avoid this continuing resolution passage being necessary. " We simply can't afford to do this sixteen times in my opinion. But at this point, I just don't see a way to legally combine them, and have abandoned that effort. I will live with them going one at a time, over and over and over.

Using the simple time value of money calculations, combining the issues could have saved Vandercar and their tenants between three and four million dollars over the construction period in terms of construction/approval delays. Since doing them at once or separate would result in the exact same district income, zero, I was certainly willing to try to combine them all, get it over and done with, and help Vandercar in the process.

This was never about school vs city, and even you posted that Bob.

Tom Birdwell

Opinions written here are mine alone, and may not reflect the views of other board members.


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John Beagle
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  09:51:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit John Beagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Tom,
I can now understand the schools desire for efficiency when dealing with these 'undesireables.'
Why was this not communicated to the Journal or Main Street Monroe?
If you want us to believe the truth, it starts with communication, early and often. We need the info. Otherwise, we go elsewhere for the input.

Tell your own story, or leave it up to others to tell your story. Either way, the media needs news.

"I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody" #BillCosby
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Bob Kelley
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  11:02:54 AM  Show Profile  Send Bob Kelley an AOL message  Send Bob Kelley a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

LOL...This one, sent 4/25

quote:


All,

Just in case it is not completely clear, I requested that the Vandercar resolution be tabled last board meeting, as the proposed language made it seem that the school board approved or endorsed the 60 plus mill abatement of the Vandercar project. Certainly I did not, and do not.

Just in case this has been lost in the chain of events, here is the history of this. Last June city council unilaterally approved the 100% property tax abatement. This was before the school district had the authority to block large abatements. In the June school board meeting, when the Vandercar issue came to the school board, I asked several questions in the meeting. These questions clearly made the Vandercar representatives openly angry. After their presentation, they withdrew to the hallway outside our cafeteria. There, they and city representatives had a rather loud discussion of moving forward with the project, with or without district approval of the requested small TIF change. Intentionally or not, this conversation was overheard by several district employees in the back of the cafeteria. From their recitations of this hallway exchange, it became clear to me that this project was going forward with or without school district support.

Given the realization that we could not stop the Vandercar project and its large abatements, it was obvious to me that it was in the district's best interest to approve the associated TIF change, which effectively was a 0.23 mill tax reduction (40% of a 0.59 mill TIF). In exchange for this small tax reduction, the school district gained the right to approve/disapprove any future large project abatements greater than 50%, elsewhere in Monroe. I certainly don't approve of the 100% abatement granted Vandercar, but at least with the granted TIF reduction, the district gained the ability to limit further large abatements on other Monroe projects in the future.

It is unfortunate that the district's approval of this small TIF change was later characterized on the Voice as district endorsement of the large 60 plus mill tax abatement granted Vandercar. Had this mischaracterization not taken place, I would not have found it necessary to ask that the April resolution be tabled and its language changed. If this delay has caused Vandercar or Home Depot unnecessary delay I am sorry, but with four levy renewals on the books in the next four years, in my opinion the district simply can't afford to appear to freely endorse this project's 100% abatement. If there indeed are 16 forthcoming approvals required for the Vandercar project, in my opinion, each must face similar district scrutiny. I certainly hope that a way is found to avoid this continuing resolution passage being necessary.

To put this abatement's fiscal reality in perspective, Kelley Thorpe estimates that Home Depot's movement from Commerce Park to the Vandercar site will result in a net school tax reduction of more than $7,000,000 over the life of its abatement. This certainly is one of the larger projects that will go into Vandercar, but with 16 similar future projects there, this is a huge tax loss for the district, easily enough to fully fund all of the district's future facility needs, and much more. I certainly don't accept the original city assumption that this very large project can proceed without causing significant district enrollment gains, and growing school expenses that have no offsetting business tax revenues. Thus our community's residents will be forced to pay for any enrollment gains that result from the Vandercar project, sans business taxes.

For better or for worse, we must learn to live with the abatements granted the Vandercar project. I hope that each of you will support the district's need to present this ongoing approval process to the public in a positive manner, so that they don't come to believe that the district willingly passed up such large business taxes, instead seeking additional homeowner taxes to fund district needs. None of us will be helped if this view is gained by the public. I seek any support you can provide to ensure such a public misperception does not take place.

Thank you,

Tom Birdwell
(513) 539-7411
tombirdwell@aol.com



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Tracy
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Posted - 05/07/2008 :  11:03:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote Report Abuse

Tom, I understand your concern about the abatement's and I will try putting it in simple terms. Without the abatement there is no development, without the development there is no tax dollars for either the school or the city and there is no jobs growth or no new business supporting the development (restaurants shopping etc.).

You seem to think this development would have happened with out the abatement. How do you think we should get businesses to locate in Monroe? When that same business can go to other places and get what they want? The tools we have to attract businesses are to reduce the cost of moving here and unfortunately that puts the schools against the development of businesses in Monroe. Per the recent telephone polls some things that Monroe citizens would like to see here would be more family restaurants and shopping and with the added cost of fuel they would like to stay a little closer to home.

None of the retail shops have any abatement's on them so with that extra build up the properties will return more property taxes to the school then they are receiving now.

Working together to achieve a better Monroe should be the the concerns of all public officials. The delay is not good for the schools or the city. I do understand what the issues are with the delay and I am disappointed the details have not been completed.

TRACY
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