Council thinks they are that much smarter than you

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What have they done this time?  See what I discovered as a result of listening to Agenda item 3E of this week’s work session. 
Item 3E is a resolution scheduled to be passed on Monday that waives the competitive bidding requirements for professional services needed to implement the program associated with the 51 acres the city is buying for $3.75 million dollars. 

The resolution they plan on passing Monday authorizes the City Manager to spend $250,000 or more without requiring him to even tell council which company he is contracting with.  This is the procedure council plans to implement on Monday. 

Section 1. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Chapter 171 of the Codified Ordinances of Huber Heights, the City Manager is authorized to follow the following procedures for selecting individuals or firms to provide the goods or services related to Project #1 of the Transformational Economic Development Program:

a) Identify a written list of qualifications that are necessary and relevant to the particular good or service needed
b) Identify an individual(s) or firm(s) that is/are able to satisfy the specific list of qualifications
c) Conduct a review of the individual(s) or firm(s) including qualifications, references, best practices, capacity of performance, financial and time considerations, and understanding of the scope of work
d) Select the lowest and best response; negotiate and enter into a contract with the individual or firm

It does not require the City Manager to tell council how much he plans to pay for these professional services or the exact service he intends to purchase on behalf of the city.  The resolution does not even give him a time frame for reporting to council after the fact.  Listen to this agenda item and you will see there was not one question or comment from any member of council.  This by itself justifies the assertion that council is about as useful as a bump on a log.  But it gets even worse!

You cannot tell from the read ahead of this agenda item how much the city plans to spend on professional services.  But it does reference the legislation that authorized the purchase of the 51 Acres and established the Transformation Economic Development Program.  As you may recall, Aug 26, 2019 council revealed, voted on, and implemented this $4 million expenditure all within a 15-minute period. It was not on the agenda and the public could not review it before it was passed.  In fact, we could not even see it a week later.  It is on the web site now.  Now that we can read the legislation, we also see that in that same 15-minute time period they authorized its sale too!

Not only did they authorize its sale, they do not know who they intend to sell it to.   They did not establish a minimum sales price.  They did not even require that they be notified first!  So of course, there is no requirement that residents get a chance to contribute to the discussion.  

This process is specifically designed so they do not have to have a public discussion on the details of the sale of this land, who will be buying it or the use of the land by these business until after everything is finalized. 
The video of the 51 acre purchase is not linked directly from the city web site.  To view that you can go to the Executive session video after it ends it will automatically go to the video for item 11.1.  If you watch this video you will see it passed 8.0 with virtually no discussion. 

One Facebook user was worried the City Manager might turn the site into a dump.  I suspect he has better sense than to make that mistake, but you have to remember, the City Manager was working the idea of giving the land by Gander Mountain to the Fair before I successfully moved that discussion out of Executive Sessions.  It was the public discussions that prevented that plan from going forward.  Consequently, part of that land was sold for over $3 million and we have a tax paying business located there now.

Today, we still have more land over that way which could be used for multiple purposes. However, multi years later, the person that will have full authority to sell (or give away) this new 51 acres still has not developed a plan for the 30 acres he has been responsible to sell or otherwise develop.

See the picture below? This picture was taken in November 2018. In April of 2019 it still had the same message; 6 acres for sale. The person responsible for selling these 6 acres is the same person council is giving complete authority to sell the 51 acres. Interestingly, 2 of these acres were sold before I left office 1 Jan 2018. So, it took more than a year and a half for the City Manager to change the 6 in this advertisement to a 4.  As a side note those 4 acres are still for sale.

I personally think that the community is more likely to get the best value for our tax dollars if we get an opportunity to evaluate the proposals for these 51 acres instead of hoping that future performance exceeds past performance in managing other city properties.

The discussion of this subject came up again on Monday as agenda item E. It is is available on line for you to watch. It appears as if this is 5 minutes of insight that tells us they need to keep you ignorant of what they are doing so they can be nimble:  
The video of the 51 acre purchase is not linked directly from the city web site.  To view that you can go to the Executive session video after it ends it will automatically go to the video for item 11.1.  If you watch this video you will see it passed 8.0 with virtually no discussion. 


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