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TIF and Ms. Brock

Monday night Ms Brock spoke Monday at the City Council meeting and was quoted in the Courier.  You can watch the her comments from the city's website.  Citizen comments occur after the presentations of keys to the city and other accolades for service well done.  My wife tells me I should have posted my comment to the article here on HuberResidents.org.  Here it is.


School Board Member Anita Brock is quoted in the Courier for her comments made at the November 9, 2013 City Council Meeting. She complains about a version of my campaign flier that headline, "Don't let Mark Campbell and Ron Fisher destroy the schools" as being unfair to Mayor Fisher. In the paragraphs below; I discuss what I was looking at when I penned those words. I'll also talk about how much distribution this version of the flier got prior to the election.

I think the easiest way for me to convey how I know the majority of the public appreciates the attention this headline receives is to compare and contrast the information council was presenting to the public in 2011 with the information they should have been giving us. To do this I'll use a quote from the April 12, 2011 Planning Commission meeting minutes. First, I'll let you read a direct quote. When you read it keep in mind that this is how council always presented the information to the public. Then I'll re-copy the quote but add additional information within [ ]. This information was available or should have been sought by council to help us as a community make an informed decision on what to do with the money generated by the I-70 TIF district. I know that at least 70% of the community would have chosen to return $800,000 a year to the Police and Fire Funds, and the Schools instead of building an Aquatic Center.

Here is the quote from the minutes. It starts about halfway through the last
paragraph found at the bottom of page 6:

"The other taxing districts that might ordinarily be receiving the benefit of the improvement of such properties, do not receive the revenue. It goes to the municipal government that created the legislation that allows the valuation to be captured as payments in lieu of taxes. It can only be used for capital improvements and development incentives. The funds cannot be used for regular operations. Mr. Stanley stated they accomplished what they set out to accomplish by capturing the valuation increase and allowing it to be
invested in the interchanges. At the time the legislation was passed, no one
knew how much would be needed for the interchange projects, but reserved as a
first call on the monies financing the debt service to upgrade the
improvements. Subsequently, there is more debt service capacity and income is
being generated beyond what was needed. He recommends that the City or any
government engaged in TIF legislation could hold on to the monies and continue
to accumulate revenue that could only be used for one thing, but these were
tight economic times. Therefore, this was not a good scenario. He feels there
will be tighter and tighter budgets throughout Ohio, and other taxing districts would look and say some of that money is not going to them and why is it not being used in a productive way for the community."

Here is the quote again, this time with the clarifying
information inside [ ]:

The other taxing districts that might ordinarily be receiving the benefit of the improvement of such properties, do not receive the revenue.

[According to the audit conducted for the City, the TIF district collected $1,199,212 in 2011. In a normal property tax area, the break out for the "other taxing districts" would have looked like this; $748,758 to HH City Schools, $45,206 to the HH Police / Fire Funds and $22,113 to the HH General Fund that could have also gone to HH Police and Fire, $36,039 to Miami Valley CTC and $347,096.31 to Sinclair College, Libraries, Human Services etc.]

It goes to the municipal government [City of Huber Heights] that created the legislation that allows the valuation to be captured as payments in lieu of taxes. It can only be used for capital improvements and development incentives. The funds cannot be used for regular operations. Mr. Stanley stated they accomplished what they set out to accomplish by capturing the valuation increase and allowing it to be invested in the interchanges. At the time the legislation was passed, no one knew how much would be needed for the interchange projects, but reserved as a first call on the monies financing the debt service to upgrade the improvements. Subsequently, there is more debt service capacity and income is being generated beyond what was needed.

[At the time of this briefing the city had already collect and had in reserve about an equal amount of TIF money as what the city owed for the I-70 interchanges]

He recommends that the City or any government engaged in TIF legislation could hold on to the monies and continue to accumulate revenue that could only be used for one thing, but these were tight economic times.

[There were two other options he did not mention. The first was to pay of the remaining debt using the dollars in the TIF fund then dissolve the TIF and allow normal tax collection. For 2011 this would have meant the schools would have received an additional $748,758 and the city would have received an additional $67,318 that could be used to pay for police and fire services. The second would have been to amend the original legislation so that Huber
Heights City Schools and Miami Valley CTC received 100% of their normal property tax. In this case the schools still would have gotten the previously stated dollar
amounts ($748,758 + $36,039). The city would have kept about $169,127.]

Therefore, this was not a good scenario. He feels there will be tighter and tighter
budgets throughout Ohio, and other taxing districts

[aka Huber Heights City Schools, the City of Huber Heights (Huber Heights Police and Fire), Miami Valley CTC and Miami County]

would look and say some of that money is not going to them and why is it not being used in a productive way for the community.

I believe that council, including Mark Campbell and Ron Fisher, had a duty in 2011 to highlight to the community the break out of TIF dollars so that we could make an educated decision on if we wanted that $748,758 to go to the schools or go to paying for building an Aquatic Center. I attended many of the public hearings and
committee meetings going on in 2011 and I can tell you with all certainty they
did not fulfill that duty. So from October 11 to October 13, 2013 the headline of my main flier was, "Don't let Mark Campbell and Ron Fisher destroy the schools" until I changed it to "Don't let TIF Districts steal from the Schools". Whether they didn't tell us how much was being diverted from the schools because they did not know or because they purposely tried to keep that information from us does not matter. It is a big enough mistake that I am sure those in the community that are paying attention join me in saying both of these headlines are accurate and appropriate.

Additional info:
I stopped printing and personally distributing the flier with the first
headline after two days. Online, I posted the second headline as my main print and share fliers on Oct 13th, however, I didn't try and remove links to the first flier until the 19th. Even then I missed that I had the first headline posted at the end of a very long article on another page until Nov 2nd. In all there were 19 total
downloads of the first flier that occurred in October and November. I would not be able to tell you if someone actually printed and shared this or any version and if they did how many.

A Final note:

When Ms. Brock spoke she also read off a number of the bullet statements I made within the flier. In each case she claimed they were wrong. I have reviewed them again. Each of those bullet statements can be backed-up using documentation provided by the City of Huber Heights or the Huber Heights City Schools. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these with Ms. Brock and together make a public presentation of the results whether it be in the form of an opinion / counter opinion or co-authored article.

 

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