A lot of you may have already seen Facebook discussions about this Flyer. Those discussions are not very useful or productive when it comes to helping you decide who would be the better council member. But its existence prompted me to re-evaluated who I intend to vote for in the At Large Council race between Dana Plewe, the challenger, and Glenn Otto, the incumbent.
I have been leaning strongly to vote for Dana. Of all nine current members of council, Glenn is clearly the second best member, but despite his being willing to talk to everyone about all issues - all the time - and despite that I enjoy playing golf with him and socializing, I also know Dana from before my being elected as Mayor and from a number of conversations from the first couple years after being elected. Before seeing this flyer, I concluded she is more likely to be able to understand the intricacies of government. With that understanding it is more likely that she should be able to make better decisions on behalf of the tax payer.
Then this flyer started making its way around the city. Despite what the author of this flyer intended to do, what it did do was remind me that Glenn has been on the right side of issues a lot more than I give him credit for. Add to this that I haven’t really talked to Dana in the last couple of years and I started thinking it would be good to know her thoughts and understanding of the issues highlighted by the author of this flyer.
If you are familiar with this city, then you should know that the author of this flyer is advocating for positions that are very detrimental to the city. The one that I plan to talk about now, the claim that Mr. Otto for voted against “the highly successful Carriage trails development” highlights the extent of the damage that would have been done if the author of this flyer got his way.
The fact is that nobody voted against the highly successful Carriage Trails development. I made an informed business assessment. My conclusion from that assessment was that the supplement the city was giving the developer was not needed for the success of that development. With Mr. Otto’s assistance, we reduced and then eliminated that supplement.
In the four years since I made that assessment and was successful in implementing the reduction of the supplement, the Carriage Trails development has continued to be successful and has built out at exactly the same pace as the developer planned.
Remember, before Mr. Otto supported my assessment, the city was providing a supplement of between $22,000 and $18,000 per lot. We started slowly and reduced the supplement to $14,000, then $8,000 and now the city does not provide a supplement. If the city had continued to supplement the developer at the same rate as before, the city would have more than $4 million dollars of additional debt. So, the author of this flyer is someone that wanted the developer to gain additional profit and is condemning Mr. Otto for supporting a plan that saved the city $4 million dollars.
If you look at the other issues this author tries to condemn Mr. Otto about, you will see this author is equally wrong on just about every item. From my personal experience with Dana, I would be surprised if she were to embrace such destructive positions. On the other hand, I have not talked with her in the last couple years. Obviously, her decision to run against Mr. Otto, who is one of the two best members of council, when she had the opportunity to run against Mr. Lyons, who is one of the two most detrimental members of council, should cause some concern. Since there is that concern, this flyer could provide a basis for her to show her understanding of some of the more important issues the city has dealt with over the last couple of years.
I suggest that if you talk with her, have her tell you her understanding of the Carriage Trails TIF and the change in supplements. Have her explain her understanding of the energy aggregation program and how that contract was awarded. Let her describe why she thinks the man most responsible for organizing the Veteran’s Memorial park and getting that project underway is disappointed in the city and thankful for Mr. Otto’s support.
Unless someone can definitively show me that her not running against Ed means she has fully embraced the sleaziness we see from the crowd that condemn Mr. Otto’s for saving the city $4 million dollars, then I am likely to still vote for her. Still, this flyer should remind you that Mr. Otto was right on most of these issues and hopefully Dana will show that she understands why he was right and proves that she can be even better.
Here is a little more that I wanted to discuss about the Carriage Trails TIF but am having a hard time working in smoothly to this article.
Recently, there was a presentation about the City’s financial situation. In that presentation the City Manager tells us the city is going to exhaust the General Fund and go into deficit spending maybe as early as 2024. This video excerpt tells us that the City’s property tax revenue is decreasing even though the amount of money the city collects because of property tax levies is growing. The reason given is because much of that money is being diverted into PILOT payments in order to pay for TIF projects.
I can not stress enough that TIF districts can provide great benefit to the community. That is why I support the creation of a new TIF at Lexington Place. They can provide more money to the city and free up resources if those TIF dollars are spent correctly. But in this case providing $22,000 to help a developer construct a lot meant that $22,000 times 220 lot (approximately $5 million) could not be used for the high-pressure water zone the city built to support these residents or to install traffic lights to keep traffic flowing properly. Instead, the funds for these projects come from higher water bills and the general fund.