By David Buccalo
January 17, 2014
The fact that Greene County is, in effect, thinking about rewarding the City of Centerville by subsidizing the developer of the Dille property in that community is not only an affront to every taxpayer in the county — it is an obscenity.
The Centerville development bailout proposal states that they are requesting $4.1 million dollars, which will be paid out $375k a year for ten years, equaling $3,750,000 from Greene County Sales tax. An addition sweetener of another $412, 943.75 to fund the installation of the waterline for the first phase of the shopping center — that totals $4,162,943.75 or rounded off to $4.16 million. But who’s counting?
Originally the needy ones were saying “up to $4.9 million.” These are all costs that the shopping center developer should pay. The Greene County public should not pick up this tab. This is not an aid package for the poor.
This shopping center is in the City of Centerville, the same City of Centerville that is one of the wealthiest cities in the entire region and can easily afford to pay this. It begs additional questions. Like why? What is the real reason?
The Mall at Fairfield Commons paid all of its own bills, it did not ask the taxpayers for anything — not a penny! This will have three big box stores with one alone estimated at doing between $100 million to $130 million dollars per year in sales per store location. You read those numbers right.
Interstate 675 and Wilmington Pike, being the most desirable site in two counties, does not lack opportunity with Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot, Office Depot and so much more all close, by why are we so willing to drink the Kool-aid?
The commission was caught trying to sneak this by us and they almost succeeded in doing this.
Why this project? A local lawmaker with a reputation for standing up for what’s right regardless of the consequences says dig deeper when looking for answers. If the developer was not able to handle the finances on this then they should not have looked before they leaped. Asking for taxpayer bailout is not a call we need to answer.
This Dille property is actually three parcels of land. There is nothing in stone that it has to be handled by one developer. Each parcel could be handled by separate companies if one can’t do it on its own.
The numbers are big – the bailout is outrageous. Centerville has a long history using tax abatement’s as an annexation tool. They are using our Greene County tax dollars to help reward property owners who annex and some of our commissioners think about going along with it. I think the commissioners have lost their minds.
Centerville has a 1.75 percent income tax with no tax forgiveness for people who work there and live elsewhere paying a double income tax. Centerville provides few direct services to the residents of Centerville. Fire, parks, water all come from Washington Township or Montgomery County. It has big budget surpluses as it “over taxes” its people in excess to the cost of services. They stand to collect tens of millions on future income taxes from these businesses and employees. It was the reason they annexed in the first place — it was about an income tax grab, nothing else.
Let Centerville, the developer and the stores pay it — but do not make the tax payers of Greene County bail this project out.
If this isn’t theft, it should be. The only thing special about this project is the rush of the Greene County Commissioners to spend money they don’t have. Dig deeper for the real reasons why this is happening. Keep asking questions.
The lure of the big deal, the adrenalin rush of playing big shot with millionaires has infected their minds and your pocketbook. One who is pushing the hardest is completely inexperienced as an elected official and has not taken the time to learn and is making mistakes on our nickel. They can, if they want, stop this bus and stop this proposal.
If you call to talk to them about this, they will say you don’t have the right numbers. That is not true. They are not doing a good job of being good stewards of the public trust. They are wanting to bailout a developer in the City of Centerville.
As it stands now open your wallet — you are about to be robbed at the end of a pen by men in fancy suits. You’ll recognize them by their million dollar smiles.
Let it be developed without government interference by our county commissioners. Not a penny. Those who support the bailout to any developer in the City of Centerville are not representing the values of the citizens. They are not the true conservatives they claim to be.
David Buccalo is the former Mayor of Bellbrook and former Sugarcreek Township Trustee in Greene County. He is resident and guest columnist.