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Middletown Fiscal Condition Alert

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    Posted: Jan 25 2017 at 3:04pm
There is a Journal story today indicating that Middletown, Springfield and 31 other Ohio cities may be heading for a fall as to their fiscal condition at this time. Any city setback may trigger an issue with handling those hardships from a fiscal standpoint according to the article. Lack of revenue and the inability to keep up with improving the condition of the cities was mentioned as potential "edge of the cliff" problems.

If this article is accurate, we might be in worse shape financially than we have been led to believe from city hall.

We shall see.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 25 2017 at 6:23pm
How much longer should the taxpayers tolerate the considerable and costly subsidized deals that have originated from One Donham Abbey? So much money spent and so few results!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 25 2017 at 6:47pm

Springfield, Middletown heading for fiscal cliff, state auditor warns

Laura A. Bischoff

Columbus bureau

2:41 p.m Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 

 

Columbus

Thirty-one Ohio cities including Springfield and Middletown - show signs of elevated financial stress — an indication that they could be on the highway to deep trouble, especially in the event of a recession, according to Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, a Republican who just announced he is running for attorney general.

A large percentage of Middletown’s assets need replacement or significant repairs and it faces a declining ratio of revenue to cover expenses, the report said. Springfield has a critically low reserve of money to cover unexpected costs.

“The bottom line is I’m a little bit concerned about the effect of the next recession,” said Yost at a press conference Wednesday. “But a lot of it will depend on the nature of that recession — how widespread the pain is among Ohio’s local governments.”

Springfield and Middletown are the only local cities on the list. Three counties are on Yost’s list, but none of them are local.

RELATED: Gov. Kasich warns ‘recession’ threatening Ohio budget

RELATED: Governor’s recession warning for Ohio may be overstated, experts say

Using 2015 data in 17 key areas, such as fund balances, revenue trends and debt, the state auditor issued a report to cities and counties on how they’re doing. Yost said he doesn’t like putting local governments into “fiscal emergency” status so he wanted to give cities and counties data that might help them head off trouble.

“Think of this as a fiscal physical,” he said.

Overall, 82 percent of counties and 92 percent of cities have at least one cautionary or critical indicator.

Among local governments that are seeing multiple red flags are Middletown and Springfield, according to Yost’s report. A large percentage of Middletown’s assets need replacement or significant repairs and it faces a declining ratio of revenue to cover expenses, the report said. Springfield has a critically low reserve of money to cover unexpected costs.

Overall, local governments have navigated choppy waters pretty well, he said.

Kent Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said the report and data “puts a finer point on what we’ve been talking about. That there are great challenges out there in different communities and it’s incumbent on us as local leaders and state leaders to try to address these.”

Yost’s report comes just before Ohio Gov. John Kasich is set to unveil his two-year state budget plan, in which local funding levels will be debated.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 26 2017 at 12:13pm

Middletown heading for fiscal cliff, state auditor warns

Wow.  Cox Media through the Dayton Daily News and the Journal News just love to pick on Middletown.   The story above was in the Journal and on their web page today:

http://www.journal-news.com/news/middletown-heading-for-fiscal-cliff-state-auditor-warns/WnARN9TjMBlWIOtyLy5MIL/

Below is the email we received from the Journal, the questions asked, and my answers in bold italic print.  It’s nothing short of astonishing that none of it ended up in the article today.   Don’t you dare believe everything you read in the paper….

From: Rutledge, Mike (CMG-Dayton) [mailto:Mike.Rutledge@coxinc.com]

Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 3:04 PM To: Adkins, Doug <douga@cityofmiddletown.org>; Mulligan Jr, Larry <larrym@cityofmiddletown.org>; Bronston, Dora <dorab@cityofmiddletown.org>; Picard, Dan <danp@cityofmiddletown.org>; Moon, Talbott <talm@cityofmiddletown.org>; Bohannon, Steve <stevebo@cityofmiddletown.org>

Subject: Seeking reaction to Ohio Auditor David Yost that Middletown is showing signs of fiscal stress

Doug and members of City Council:

I’m seeking your reaction to this report from Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, who says Middletown is showing signs of elevated fiscal stress, indicating the possibility of financial trouble, especially if there is a recession, as the governor has predicted.

The following report, written by a Dayton Daily News reporter, already is posted online.

I’m wondering what you think of Dave Yost’s report.

The Auditor built this report based on data from 2015 and only from data without a working understanding of the goals, projects and flexibility each city has in its longer range plans.  The data represents a 2 year old data snapshot, not a working knowledge of ongoing operations.

I’m also wondering whether Yost’s office gave you a heads-up about this announcement and forwarded you the report.

Do you agree with his assessment? How concerned should city residents be about this situation? Anything else you’d like to say about this?

The report lacks the ability to place context in the data presented.  The City of Middletown has been completing extensive capital projects and has undertaken a number of deferred maintenance projects during the past two years that weren’t completed during the recession.  Our drawdown on reserves is by design and with a flexibility and understanding of which projects and staffing can and cannot be quickly changed in the event of a downturn in the economy.  We monitor revenues and expenses on an ongoing basis (and online on our web page for transparency), so any downturn would be seen in no more than 30 days.  We are simply not seeing a downturn in Middletown.  Quite the opposite.

In 2016, income tax revenues were up in Middletown by over $700,000.   To put that in context, at a 1.75% income tax rate, that $700,000 in new tax revenue represents $40,000,000 in new payroll dollars over 2015.  We are adding new housing stock, new businesses and have several hundred manufacturing and health care positions that are open and available at this time.  We are hardly in a downturn.  There is currently over $750 million in new construction underway in Middletown.   The 2017 budget has over $12 million in new capital infrastructure projects.  

Several of the Auditor’s cautionary outlooks are monetary policy that was executed by the city after careful consideration and by design.  We are investing in infrastructure needed by our manufacturers to expand their businesses.  We have been involved with the land bank on a grant demolition program that reimburses after demolition.  We are, therefore, using general fund dollars for demolition but have not received the reimbursement.   We’ve opened 32 new downtown businesses in the past two  years and three new anchors at our mall.  AK Steel is just completing a new $36 million Research and Innovation Center on our east end.

This was all accomplished despite the discontinuation of the inheritance tax which cost the city of Middletown about $800,000 per year in lost revenue, and with a steep reduction in the local government fund, leaving the city with an additional $900,000 less operating revenue annually than we had in 2010.

2015 is old news and this report is out of context with the current reality.  We all know that at some point we will see another recession.  We have the ability to curtail spending at any time as the economy and our revenues dictate.   We are not in financial distress and if the Auditor truly stated that we are on the highway to deep trouble, then I sure hope we stay on this current road as long as possible.   I’m not sure how we could be improving in all sectors much faster than we are right now.

Is Middletown doing anything in light of this report to stabilize its finances?  See above.

FYI, I have requested a copy of the report but do not yet have it.

Seeking your response ASAP, as the article already is posted online.

Thanks very much.

All the best,

Mike

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 26 2017 at 2:45pm
"In 2016, income tax revenues were up in Middletown by over $700,000.   To put that in context, at a 1.75% income tax rate, that $700,000 in new tax revenue represents $40,000,000 in new payroll dollars over 2015. We are adding new housing stock, new businesses and have several hundred manufacturing and health care positions that are open and available at this time. We are hardly in a downturn. There is currently over $750 million in new construction underway in Middletown.   The 2017 budget has over $12 million in new capital infrastructure projects."

Where is this "adding new housing stock" located? I don't see any significant house building going on in Middletown proper. I do see many empty lots created by the demolition being done primarily in the old 2nd Ward area. Some lots will never be built on as they were sold to the next door neighbors for 500 bucks on both sides. We still have the same old problem of dealing with the EPA's demands to fix the aging sewers and that little problem downtown with the sewers being built incorrectly decades ago. What's the price tag on that to be in compliance with the EPA? Millions no doubt and much more than the city can ever be able to afford to address at this time. To offset the cost, there was a city fund of some type set up years ago to begin the collection of money to start this but I suspect that fund and the money was probably used for other projects as usual as it disappeared into the infamous "General Fund".

Yeah, there's more city income taxes for revenue. That was at the expense of those working in Middletown and those working out of town where the city taxes are lower than Middletown and Middletown gets the difference. The people paid the price in this little revenue generation as the city income tax rate was raised by city officials. Their answer to everything is to raise taxes. Nevermind making an effort to go after the people who can afford to be taxed more....companies. Until recently, it was far too hard for the Econ Dev. Dept. to make any effort to attract any tax paying businesses in here to offset the burden of the residents here. Only in the last few years have we all seen any progress on luring new business here. The energy center, AK Research are two. Others of any significance to add? Yes, it's progress but not a good start when compared to other cities and the number of jobs they have brought in.

We can't go on what Mulligan and the others running the city will say. It will be an embellished, semi-accurate glossed over account of the state of affairs. Always has been. The entire council would tell us the same thing. Just keeping it all in the family.

The city doesn't get credit for the businesses around the old Towne Mall area. That was done through private sector transactions with the Towne Mall owners. They do get credit for the business activity downtown, but, as we all know, that hasn't exactly faired too well at times and is hardly a dynamic business destination even after decades of development attempts.

The data was taken from 2015 and may be old news but I still don't see any evidence that it was dramatically better in 2016 nor any real change has happened for 2017 as yet. We shall see if it improves enough to be noticed. I would guess we are still on the edge of the cliff financially in this city as to handling unsuspected catastrophes.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 26 2017 at 4:36pm
Middletown’s city government is denying the fiscal cliff they face so why haven’t their fiduciary responsibilities been met? Those being:

1.) Separating the sanitary and storm sewers. Since the 70’s city water bills have collected funds which were supposedly earmarked for this purpose. Where are those funds? The city claims they don’t have funds for this purpose. City manager, Doug Adkins, has asked council to raise our water, sewer and trash rates and use those new funds to fix our streets! Half of the original city income tax was mandated for street repair. Where are those funds? One mil of our property tax can only legally be used for street repair. Where are those funds. The auto and gas funds coming back from the state are also for the maintenance of streets. Where are those funds. The city sold off all the equipment they had for street repair, leaving the public works crews being paid but with nothing to do since the mowing and street work was and is being farmed out. So they bought back the hot tar tank and enough equipment to fill cracks and pot holes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 7:54am
Since part of this discussion centers around city revenue and jobs, there is an article in the Journal about Hamilton working with 8 technology companies who will bring water technology to the city in the form of water quality and emergency electrical power through dam usage/power plants.

We have a river running along side Middletown's downtown don't we? Wonder if Middletown could investigate some opportunities along the same lines as Hamilton.

Could result in more employers paying more taxes, more city payroll income taxes and the creation of more jobs coupled with more activity in their downtown.

Would the Economic Development Dept. be interested in exploring that Mr. Adkins? Benefit by Hamilton's creative ideas perhaps?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 8:56am
Since the 216-unit Nicholas Place Apartments at I-75 was obliquely alluded to in a preceding post, does anyone have information on the status of the rent-up for these upscale 2-3 bedroom units costing $1,095 to $1,660 per month?  It would be noteworthy to learn of market demand/capture for this Middletown development within a 20 to 25 mile radius?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 9:35am

Middletown city manager responds to state auditor’s warning

Mike Rutledge

Staff Writer

7:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 

 

 

MIDDLETOWN

After Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. on Wednesday said he appreciated a warning from the state auditor’s office about problems his city’s budget may face, City Manager Doug Adkins criticized the auditor’s report as “old news” and “out of context with the current reality.”

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost on Wednesday named Middletown among 31 Ohio local governments showing signs of elevated financial stress amid concerns voiced by Gov. John Kasich that the state may be headed toward a recession.

State law requires Yost to develop guidelines for identifying fiscal practices and budgetary conditions among local governments that if not corrected “could result in a future declaration of fiscal watch or emergency,” the reason his office published the report. Among the cities named as showing financial stress in the region were Middletown and Springfield.

“We all know that at some point we will see another recession,” Adkins wrote via email in response to Journal-News questions. “We have the ability to curtail spending at any time as the economy and our revenues dictate.”

“We are not in financial distress and if the auditor truly stated that we are on the highway to deep trouble, then I sure hope we stay on this current road as long as possible,” Adkins added. “I’m not sure how we could be improving in all sectors much faster than we are right now.”

Out of 17 factors considered, Middletown had two “critical outlook financial health indicators” (the worst); and five “cautionary outlook financial health indicators” (the next worst). The two critical-outlook areas were the ratio of general revenues being less than being less than 100 percent of net expenses; and the accumulated depreciation being higher than 70 percent of depreciable capital assets.

Yost spokesman Ben Marrison noted the index used to create the report was “based on historical trends of communities that were declared in fiscal distress at some point.”

Adkins recently put a hiring freeze on most city positions and warned city council that layoffs may be required this year.

Adkins and Mulligan both criticized Yost’s office for using year-old data in its report.

“The indicators use the most-recent data filed by Middletown (filed within the past 12 months for fiscal year 2015) and accurately reflect critical fund balances and ratios. When Middletown and other cities file their 2016 financial statements, a new report will be generated,” Marrison said in an email response.

Some of the critical fund balances noted in the report were planned, according to Adkins.

“The City of Middletown has been completing extensive capital projects and has undertaken a number of deferred maintenance projects during the past two years that weren’t completed during the recession,” he said. “Our drawdown on reserves is by design and with a flexibility and understanding of which projects and staffing can and cannot be quickly changed in the event of a downturn in the economy. We monitor revenues and expenses on an ongoing basis …”

“Several of the Auditor’s cautionary outlooks are monetary policy that was executed by the city after careful consideration and by design,” Adkins said. “We are investing in infrastructure needed by our manufacturers to expand their businesses. We have been involved with the land bank on a grant demolition program that reimburses after demolition. We are, therefore, using general fund dollars for demolition but have not received the reimbursement. We’ve opened 32 new downtown businesses in the past two years and three new anchors at our mall. AK Steel is just completing a new $36 million Research and Innovation Center on our east end.”

“This was all accomplished despite the discontinuation of the inheritance tax which cost the city of Middletown about $800,000 per year in lost revenue, and with a steep reduction in the local government fund, leaving the city with an additional $900,000 less operating revenue annually than we had in 2010,” Adkins said.

Marrison contends the tool is not designed to evaluate the decisions of local officials in determining when to retire debt or invest in infrastructure.

Rather, he said, the tool provides a “fiscal physical for communities that records changes in key fund balances and highlights when there has been a sudden drop or a downward trend in a key metric. While each entity’s report is measured using the same formulas, the results can mean different things. For instance, a significant drop in a fund balance may be problematic for one city because it was caused by the unexpected loss of major employer; for another city, the fund drop may be the result of a new strategy to improve infrastructure.”

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 10:03am
Mr. Adkins. Point blank question.....point blank answer.

If the city, according to you, is in as good of shape financially as you say, how much money is set aside to offset any negative balances or financial calamities if a recession should arise? If there is money set aside, what are the chances it will be raided, as in the past, to finance another city project and finally, how much city money is dedicated to committed projects? Your answer will determine who has offered the more accurate assessment of the city's fiscal outlook......your explanation or the state auditor's assessment.
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Before the recession, we used to carry a 25% General Fund balance, meaning we had 25% of the year's projected expenditures on hand unencumbered at any given time. The general consensus of public accounting is that 15% General Fund balances are considered healthy.

When we had a 25% balance, in my mind, we had multiple unmet needs in capital projects and deferred maintenance items while we carried a 10% higher General Fund balance than the industry said was needed to be healthy.

As the recession eased and I took over, my policy has been to let the balance slide up and then when the cash is on hand at 17% or so, cut another project loose to draw down the General Fund balance near 15% but put every additional dollar available on the street to help Middletown.

We monitor our financial situation monthly. We have the ability to curtail payroll, not fill turnover positions and not expend budgeted projects if a downtown starts to occur.   We are seeing upticks in all sectors, however, not downturns.

Most of the 2017 projects have not been put out to bid yet. If we start to see a downturn, we can choose not to bid, or alternatively, choose not to accept bids on budgeted projects and hold our reserves in check.

The city's books are online and you see what is going before Council for each meeting. I don't hide the ball.
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Follow-up to Previous Nicholas Place Apartments Upscale Development Inquiry

Is there, or is there not, a verified consumer demand for above market rate rental dwellings in Middletown?  And, since much has been said recently about the resurgent health of the local housing market, does this mean that we can begin seeing new housing that is not heavily rent-subsidized or modest cost new construction?  Would city staff care to respond?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 2:50pm
OK--almost all of us live here, and have lived here most of our lives.
With the current condition of the world/nation/state/area, why would anyone be surprised to learn that Middletown could have financial stresses down the road IF "things" take a turn downwards?

Tax revenue locally and same siphoning down from above aren't going to grow because of the massive national debt obligations ahead. All with the cost of existence(at all levels) goes only higher.

Hard choices and realities lie ahead. Running this operation(Mr.A)is a seriously challenging occupation. Council is only a part-time low-pay gig for those connected and dedicated. We need a new era Admin to be operated in a red/black mentality for as long as it takes to or if we ever get a recovery. Get more for the $$--eliminate waste and redundancy--run in a lean max-producing manner. Whatever it takes to stay above the line.

Citizens have to be realistic, not to mention contributing, sharing and co-operating with a forward responsible honest govt.relationship.

So Mr.A--you are the man of the moment. We will appreciate your dedication, intent and your commitment to the city. Hold it together fairly, balanced and as cost-effective as necessary.

So---we have Trump and Adkins to make Middletown great again. Keeping jobs local and creating new jobs as THE priority, with strong public safety presence. Let's put the best people in charge and co-operatively make it work for everyone throughout. Pretty simple actually---
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2017 at 5:05pm
spider:
"Hard choices and realities lie ahead. Running this operation(Mr.A)is a seriously challenging occupation. Council is only a part-time low-pay gig for those connected and dedicated. We need a new era Admin to be operated in a red/black mentality for as long as it takes to or if we ever get a recovery"

Adkins asked for the position and knew, working in the Gilleland administration, what was ahead of him in challenges to clean up her mess. Same way with council members. They asked for the job. Council is the easiest gig in town. Simple to do. Just act like you read the information before you vote on it and then cast your pre-programmed vote. Already pre-rehearsed ahead of time. When was the last time you saw a 4 to 1 or 3 to 2 vote on anything? Always a one time emergency vote and always 5-0. That is a fact.

spider:
"We need a new era Admin to be operated in a red/black mentality for as long as it takes to or if we ever get a recovery. Get more for the $$--eliminate waste and redundancy--run in a lean max-producing manner. Whatever it takes to stay above the line."


Not gonna happen with business as usual with council and the city manager. If they wanted to operate in the black on a consistent basis, they wouldn't use city money to purchase speculation buildings downtown like the Thatcher buildings, Rose and Senior Center and wouldn't end up with a white elephant like the Manchester Hotel paying much more than they gave it away for. They also wouldn't continually plow millions in their downtown to force fit succeeding at all costs. If they were serious about making a move to retain more money for emergencies, they would actually get out of the real estate business instead of just providing lip service about it. This city will never be good with money as they don't know how to differentiate and prioritize money spent on the must have basics and money spent foolishly on their downtown pet projects. If we are really on the edge as the auditor says, that should send a red flag to Adkins and company to stop the downtown spending and build the rainy day fund more than ever.......but they won't do it. Makes too much sense and robs funds for their precious downtown. The downtown dream is their heroin addiction and they have no intention on changing their spending habits to place more in a fund for emergency situations.

spider:
"Citizens have to be realistic, not to mention contributing, sharing and co-operating with a forward responsible honest govt.relationship."

The way this city government operates, they have given the people no reason to trust them in doing the right things for the good of the city and people of this city. Haven't for several decades. City government has been a closed society and has caused an adversarial relationship between them and the people. The people are the outsiders, city hall is the fortress/castle and the moat is the anti citizen city theme and the distance in communication between the city leaders and the people. When the city stops playing the exclusion game, the relationship between the city and the people may start to improve. Until then, the adversarial relationship remains intact.

spider:
"So Mr.A--you are the man of the moment. We will appreciate your dedication, intent and your commitment to the city. Hold it together fairly, balanced and as cost-effective as necessary."

I have my doubts but I hope it improves to this level. I wouldn't bet on it though.

spider:
"So---we have Trump and Adkins to make Middletown great again. Keeping jobs local and creating new jobs as THE priority, with strong public safety presence. Let's put the best people in charge and co-operatively make it work for everyone throughout. Pretty simple actually-"

Don't forget to include the dam downtown as a priority. Listed or not, it will still rank high on their focus list and it shouldn't with a city that is labeled as in fiscal trouble. The right thing to do would be to stop all public money spending and let the private sector develop the downtown and use the downtown city money to improve the roads, sewers and to provide safety services. The downtown is too expensive for what little benefit it provides. It is kept afloat for a very small contingent of people who have the city's attention. Why tend to less than 2% of the people and ignore the other 98%? Ridiculous.

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2017 at 4:02am
starting over is only good if you do it right
replacing everyone only works if you have successful replacements
it's not like the best and brightest are lining up to serve us imo

and as for the latest regurgitation of the same downtown master plan dream:

I operated three long-term successful necessary businesses in not so beautiful(currently) parts of the city for decades.
Each location was in a shopping center or neighborhood that was thriving in the 50s,60s,70s,80s, early 90s.
then tough times rolled in to town. the centers lost major players like Ayr Way(Target) and K Mart, and the neighborhoods became less desirable as the upper class gradually moved away. We hung in there for a while, but it became too costly to operate small with business volume down approx 40%. We sold all locations. The current business operators in each location are struggling to make it. Their sales haven't increased, their centers have not improved, and the labor force/theft is crushing them. If they could they would probably hand each location back to me.

IF I was still operating these businesses in these locations, I would feel VERY left out by the current "new" master plan. These businesses still provide basic healthy necessities for their neighborhoods--not frilly do-dad art and trinkets or pawn/loan shops. IF these locations close, these neighborhoods will suffer even more.  There is no one willing to take our places.

So--WHY is there NOTHING for them ever mentioned in the city's big picture, Mr.A???
imo they are far more important than chasing the ever elusive "downtown" dream.
We are losing big players instead of adding--stop the bleeding before we bleed to death
Can we go back to being real and basic before concentrating on the candy stores?

jmo

tell me where I am off course or wrong?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2017 at 4:23am
Okay...here's the thing:.no matter what anyone says, if you want to make change, you have to find some folks who are willing to run for city council.  There are a host of people in Middletown who are honest, intelligent, and knowledgeable of both economics and the engineering aspects needed to repair our third world infrastructure.

Two seats are up this November, and they are up City-wide, including the areas of our city in Warren County.

We no longer have "WARD" representation, so no matter where anyone lives they can run.

If you want to improve things in our city, find a good candidates, have them get the few signatures on the petitions that they need,  and begin supporting them now.

If you don't do this, and you let the same old "rubber stamp" people be/remain on City Council this fall, then "Qwitkwerbellerakin"!!!

This is likely the last opportunity that we will have, and if you wait until summer/fall to run an outside candidate, he/she will lose.

That is just my two cents worth.



“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2017 at 4:30am
PS: Spider is correct with his immediately previously post.

Millions for downtown, but nothing for areas such as where his businesses were?  Yet his businesses served thousands while downtown caters to hundreds.
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 28 2017 at 4:37am
"Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012" ... but yet we keep pouring tons of money into anything associated with the former downtown!

How about it, Mayor Mulligan???  What has changed since January, 2012???
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 30 2017 at 4:13pm
Since the auditor's fiscal alert has been published the citizens might take this opportunity to express concerns about our city government's operation directly to the auditor's office. I Googled the Ohio State Auditor and sent an email about some of my concerns. I received acknowledgement of receipt but no reply yet. A number of emails to the auditor about so many serious concerns will get much more attention than one. Here's the address   OhioAuditor.gov/contact.html How about it??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 30 2017 at 5:48pm
wmom--not trying to report anyone or cause trouble. the job at hand is hard enough without it. just wanting to see equal for everyone, which should make us better by benefiting everyone from the bottom up. if that is the kind of attention that u seek, then go for it. but what result from it would make u happy?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 30 2017 at 9:10pm
All of Middletown would benefit if we can halt the mismanagement under which the city has suffered for years. The foremost problems would have solved themselves if the funds the city received were used for the original intended purpose for which the citizens voted. The citizens have been deceived. For example: 1.) None of the original 1.5% city income tax is(was) used for its original intended purpose--half for streets and parks (infrastructure) and half for water sewer and trash. 2.) Council voted not to use the money from The Auto and Gas Funds which the city receives from the state for streets. It is NOT legal to use those funds for any other purpose. What they were used for is unknown and far as I know they disappeared. 3.) How can council justify voting on emergency legislation to lease the first floor of Geotz Tower when it was revealed in two days they were short of funds and may have to lay off people who were supposed to occupy the building.

If we can not get council and management to act responsibly and with itegrity regarding our fiscal well being, then we will continue to have the same problems to our demise.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." -Edmond Burke     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 30 2017 at 9:27pm
I pretty much agree, though that is old news where we have to move on.
So we learn and get it going the right way quickly -- elect new leaders hopefully
Move ahead to better times
We must think positively towards a fresh future
Hopefully not pie in the sky--times are tough out there
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 31 2017 at 8:50pm
Council members and city administrations (past and present) have, for years, ignored the law and the rules under which city governments should operate. When corruption or law breaking by city officials was(is) brought up, council and others say they want to look forward not back – in effect dropping the matter. Corruption and law breaking was never addressed, therefore, it has grown to what we have today. When the state auditor told of the impending fiscal cliff, the Mayor and city manager told us that everything is just fine. No matter that Moody’s has down graded Middletown’s credit rating twice in the last few years. Take no notice that our quality of life amenities (swimming pools, golf course, Sebald Park, Bicentennial Commons, etc.) have been given away, sold or destroyed. The only way to stop the decline of Middletown is to replace council, the city manager and everyone in the city building that is part of the problem. Honesty and integrity is a must if Middletown is to recover from years of mismanagement. Council should be spending tax dollars for the intended purpose and for the betterment of Middletown, instead of buying more real estate to give away or funnel it to their cronies.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 01 2017 at 9:10am
Once again, I fundamentally agree with you, wmom. Esp on the quality of life issues. We keep giving away things, yet planning to charge more for less. When people shop out of town(I can't buy all of my clothing at Wal Mart or Meijers) we end up dining out of town, seeking entertainment out of town and often re-fueling(because it is usually less expensive) out of town.

Dishonest--not so much imo--they pretty much do their thing in our face flaunting the authority. Integrity is ingrained imo, though it can be somewhat misguided. Wasteful, rep[etitive and expensive are my key concerns.

I am ok with Adkins---not so much with Council. They have the power to steer the ship. Until new younger leaders who want to re-focus priorities to bring back their future living area step up, we are going to see the sos obviously. Face it--current Council/Mayor often run un-opposed. We honestly don't need more 60-70yo "new" leaders.

We have quality real estate stock for bargain prices. We have the same with commercial space. Outside of that we have image issues from crime, poverty and poor school ratings to go along with lack of quality of life amenities. I don't see more brew pubs in the former downtown as the answer.

These cycles happen, are common to our geographics, and can linger far too long. Hopefully we are working our way out of this one. I can't be as negative and attacking any more(hasn't helped anything), though I want to be realistic. And hopeful--with positive results to follow.

I don't feel that I have been sitting here quietly doing nothing for the last few decades, but that is my opinion of myself lol. Others here obviously disagree.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 02 2017 at 11:32am

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Spider said:
“Once again, I fundamentally agree with you, wmom. Esp on the quality of life issues. We keep giving away things, yet planning to charge more for less. When people shop out of town(I can't buy all of my clothing at Wal Mart or Meijers) we end up dining out of town, seeking entertainment out of town and often re-fueling(because it is usually less expensive) out of town.”

Middletown has the highest property tax in the state, one of the highest income taxes, but very few quality of life amenities and some of the lowest performing schools. Mention of these issues is conveniently avoided by city government. Any of these can keep our city from recovering.

“Dishonest--not so much imo--they pretty much do their thing in our face flaunting the authority. Integrity is ingrained imo, though it can be somewhat misguided. Wasteful, rep[etitive and expensive are my key concerns.
I am ok with Adkins---not so much with Council. They have the power to steer the ship. Until new younger leaders who want to re-focus priorities to bring back their future living area step up, we are going to see the sos obviously. Face it--current Council/Mayor often run un-opposed. We honestly don't need more 60-70yo "new" leaders.”

Mr. Adkins strongly suggested that city council raise water, sewer and trash rates (enterprise funds) to siphon off money for street repair – dishonest imo. While Adkins was director of revitalization he neglected to follow the rule that the city must take possession of properties before they could be demolished. Could this be the reason why we have not yet been reimbursed for all this demolition?   Also voting not to use Auto and Gas Funds for streets is dishonest, imo. Adkins has done even more damage to Middletown by misguiding city council. Remember the section eight fiasco! Tearing down everything before bringing in jobs will stop any recovery. It will be difficult to find two new, young leaders this fall in the face of this quagmire. They will have to deal with the remaining entrenched and misguided council.

“We have quality real estate stock for bargain prices. We have the same with commercial space. Outside of that we have image issues from crime, poverty and poor school ratings to go along with lack of quality of life amenities. I don't see more brew pubs in the former downtown as the answer.”

I agree. But cheap real estate and commercial space will have no appeal to home buyers or businesses until our real problems are addressed.

“These cycles happen, are common to our geographics, and can linger far too long. Hopefully we are working our way out of this one. I can't be as negative and attacking any more(hasn't helped anything), though I want to be realistic. And hopeful--with positive results to follow.”

I think that Middletown’s present and previous city government’s problems are the result of poor judgment plus lack of research and deliberation before declaring an emergency to vote in legislation which has only just been suggested.


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