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All posts for the month September, 2013

Tax questions for candidates (and a TIF flashback) – G.W.

Published September 23, 2013 by justicewg

One of the most important facts that any candidate for office in Grandview Heights must know is how the tax negotiations with NRI were made, and the results that we can expect from those deals in the future. TIFs are complex, but all candidates, both city council and school board, will have to deal with them, and understand how they affect current policy. We have had a slow start to the development, but with more housing units on the way we are well into dealing with the outcome, and it will be a top concern for years to come.

If a candidate comes to my door, the most important question I could ask would be “Can you give me a short lesson on the TIF agreements with NRI in the Grandview Yard development?” If they sputter and talk in generalities and obviously don’t know what was done in those TIF agreements, they have not done their homework, and should not receive your vote.

To help give you a better base of knowledge on the TIF here is a post from July 2009 that covered the negotiations with the school board. Be sure to read both the post and the link it contains to the TVN story about the deal.

(From July 2009)

A story in the TWG had a lot of detail for the negotiations with NRI over the compensation the schools will get from the G.Y. project. Read the story for the exact numbers, the school seems like they have worked out a sliding scale of increased compensation with steps in the number of housing units.

I sent an email asking O’Reilly about the quote where he seems to imply that accepting the deal from NRI on the number of units is not up for negotiation.

You are quoted saying about a possible cap on the number of housing units in G.Y., “If we put in a cap the 11% is gone and the other pieces are gone”.
Can you explain what would be gone if a cap was put in place?
How do you know that those elements of the deal with NRI would be gone with a cap – has NRI said that it is nonnegotiable?

This was his quick reply:

I am assuming you are expecting a complete answer from me and I wish to provide that to you.

I would prefer to wait until the negotiations are finalized and approved. However, I can tell you it is my feeling that it was going to be extremely difficult to get agreement on any caps that would be meaningful.

In addition, we were able to negotiate receiving a higher percentage of compensation as the number of residential units increases.

In providing more information surrounding my quote, if we pressed for a hard cap and NRI would agree, we would have needed to renegotiate our compensation package (which includes 11% of the total increase taxable valuable of the improvements plus an additional percentage of any residential growth) with the city to lower levels than we are set to receive (if NRI would actually agree to a cap).

I will also share that in order for the finances of this to work out for NRI, they will need to self-impose residential limits.  Money to pay the bonds from the TIF will be generated at a much greater rate from the commercial side versus the residential side. Ed O’Reilly.

OK, the deal is still on the table. But the question is still present – why can’t Grandview place a hard cap on the number of units? What is NRI going to do, walk away from the table? The school has a limited ability to accept new students without hitting the wall and becoming required to build a new school. When that happens, the money gets tight fast. Read the rest of this entry →

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Grandview has an election hullabaloo?

Published September 6, 2013 by justicewg

From VerifiedVoting.orgGrandview Heights elections are normally pretty boring affairs, with a lot of incumbents cruising to victory and the occasional new face, but “exciting” is not an adjective that gets used.

This fall will be an election with surprising candidates, and if things keep up, it will be an exciting race.

City Council

After council president Steve Reynolds failed to file for office, it was looking like the council election might have the a bit of drama. Jagers and Koelker were also on the way out, leaving a big hole in the standard lineup. But this is not where the action is, three new candidate filed, and will be unopposed. Kearns, Papineau, and Smith have nothing in their backgrounds to shock or surprise. Panzera will start his fourth term.

School Board

This is where the action has left observers flabbergasted.

Incumbents Grant Douglass and Katie Clifford were expected to be returned to their seats without drama. The third seat, vacated by Kessler, was going to be filled by former High School principal Jesse Truett. Truitt brings his own baggage to the race, after he resigned from Grandview because of the public outing of his affair with a student while he was a teacher at Westerville. His present employment is with an organization which provides training and support for charter schools. How can we have confidence he will be working unencumbered by his belief in the advantage of charter schools?

In spite of Truitt’s negatives, he was the only person to file for the open seat, and without write-in opposition could expect to cruse to victory without needing to run a campaign.

Then the bomb dropped. Clifford made a rookie mistake in her paperwork. She was out, with no legal options for running as a write-in candidate. The race became wide open.

Three candidate filed for write-in status. There are three open seats. If the write-in hopefuls get enough votes, they can pull off an election zinger by booting Truitt, and even bring about an unprecedented loss for incumbent Douglass! Read the rest of this entry →