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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 05 2017 at 7:08pm
Because of the a scarcity of current internet information on the H.O.M.E. Program as funded by HUD for the city, the following is cited for the city for PY 2015-16:

Down Payment/Closing Cost Assistance:  $219,000+
Down Payment/Closing Cost Assistance Administration:  $24,000+
Program Administrator:  NeighborWorks of Hamilton, OH
Maxiumum Assistance:  $5,000 per Applicant (Five-Year Forgivable Loan)

It's presumed that the Hamilton program administrator utilizes these funds only for applicant down payment/closing cost assistance forgivable loans.
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 06 2017 at 10:28am
Looks like Council is about to rubber stamp another Dougie duck! This needs citizen attention. As noted in the 3/7/17 workbook, there is a City Ordinance §729.01 which places responsibility on the property owner to maintain concrete curb, gutter, driveway apron and sidewalk. Council passed this because they completely drain (& put in the General slush fund) all the enterprise fund, Auto & Gas Tax, and the portion of our city income tax earmarked for streets. It's a shame we can't get this ordinance rescinded (or could we?) Property owners are being gouged again because the city is ignoring their fiduciary responsibility.

In the workbook there are 300 some properties listed for mandatory repairs, replacement. And an additional item, installing sidewalk wherever they didn't exist, ISN'T MENTIONED IN THE ORDINANCE, so the property owner should not be responsible for that!!! The property owners subjected to a previous use of this ordinance, were required to use only a contractor from a list provided by the city. The ordinance also states that owners have 30 days to complete and pay or the city will contract the work and the charges will be added to their real estate tax. This places an added burden on residents who are already having trouble making ends meet. If payment can't be be made this could snowball into loss of property for non-payment of taxes. Fodder for Adkins' "abandoned" tear downs??

I'll bet few of the property owners know about the impending gouge. It is hard to keep track of Council/Adkins doings when the is so little PUBLIC discussion at their meetings.
"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 VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 06 2017 at 11:51am
Never have understood this logic on property owner responsibility. Your property ends at your property side of the sidewalk. They are asking you to take care of property you do not own. You do not own the piece of grass between the curb and the sidewalk, nor do you own the sidewalk. That is city owned. I'll give them the cost of the drive-way apron even though it falls on city owned property as well. If you want to get technical about things, the property owner actually maintains the city owned property between the sidewalk and curb by mowing, edging and applying lawn chemicals (assuming most do that is). If we use the criteria of the city charge program, we property owners should be sending the city a bill for the maintenance of THEIR property just as they are now gouging the property owner with this nonsense.

One way street in their view.....property owner pays for replacement concrete work for the sidewalk slabs AND, now, but never before, they are asking for us to replace the curbs as well? Good luck with that city officials. The curb replacement should be included in the street fund......but wait, that fund was used for another purpose in the 80's and never replaced by the ones who asked the voters to approve a one time only usage outside the realm of the fund's intentions. This was in the Bill Becker administration while he was attempting to be a city manager.

Now, Adkins and company, knowing this is a poor community, as they are partly responsible for it being so, still want to tax the crap out of us at every given juncture. Do you not understand? Most don't have the money for this.

Council and Adkins, you know dam good and well most people don't have the money to cover this additional tax. What part of "we can't afford this" don't you understand?

This crap goes hand in hand with the failed "we'll pave your street if you get most on your block to buy into the cost" program. Were there ever any takers on this idea?

The leaders, including council, are grossly irresponsible and have not fulfilled their obligation to properly fund the street repairs, so, they ask the people to make up for their negligence.

Incredible.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 08 2017 at 8:26pm

Rubber stamping Adkins' decrees has become so habitual, it's like council is addicted ... like a heroin addict, they're hooked. It's just so easy to let him do their thinking.

YUP, the quack is up. The 300+ residents will be gouged. And I forgot to mention in a previous post ... will the city charge the customary two and one half times the bill for reimbursement, if the city does the contracting?.   And council made it easy and quick with emergency legislation and no discussion or questions.

There was discussion about the O'Reilley business that wants to locate on the outer fringe of what city officials consider downtown. But it was mostly negative and was coming from established businesses (some of whom might be considered competitors with the new business). Both Adkins and Mayor Mulligan said they had conversations with citizens who voiced objections, none of whom were present at the meeting. Adkins pointed out a number of violations regarding his very stringent requirements for establishing a business in his downtown hood. Like ... not the correct facade, no pole sign and no parking in front (but nearby competitors have parking in front). New businesses propose a completed comprehensive plan, only to be told then that there's a list of finicky trumped up regulations that the city neglected to reveal beforehand. Of course each regulation will require a fee for a variance and, reworking of and re-submission of proposals and plans. Sounds expensive, in time and money, to be required to jump through so many preposterous hoops. Still wonder why we can't get businesses to locate downtown, or any place in town ???

"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 whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 09 2017 at 10:20am
Could someone actually be taking note of citizen concerns that our city government is not conducting business openly and honestly???    Adkins touched upon the sunshine law in council meeting 3/7/17, when he said that the Planning Commission’s meetings could be recorded, same as the Council’s meetings, at the very minimal cost of $500 to $1000 per year (if I heard correctly).   I believe it was Mr. Moon who spoke up in favor of “being more transparent.”   Kudos, Mr. Moon!!!   I hope this independent thinking is contagious (and also that there is no punishment for the good deed).   BUT, (and here’s the spin) Adkins’ further comments indicated that HE THOUGHT the continued recording of the Planning meetings should be on a trial basis and depend upon the number of viewings by the public. Just how the viewings could be counted was ACTUALLY questioned (no question about why they should be counted).     The REAL question is: What does the number of viewings have to do with being more transparent???   Any meeting of any government body should be as available as possible for public consumption especially when it costs so little to do so.   Wouldn’t Adkins just love to discontinue the recording of Council meetings using the premise that the number of viewings was insufficient?!!! Oh, that WAS nearly accomplished with the exit of TV Middletown (due to Adkins’ strategic mismanagement) !!! And, with less public oversight maybe that’s why Doug’s ducks were so easy to get rubber stamped.

To our dear down trodden citizens: Do not lose hope!!! Let’s continue to make inroads. Keep the pressure on!!! Not only CAN we make a difference, we MUST. Survival depends on your participation!!!
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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whistlersmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 10 2017 at 11:04pm
Here’s another Dougie Duck!! Adkins has achieved a real coup with a triple THREAT to HIS OWN “attempt” to revitalize downtown.     The triplet ducklings are: --- 1). Downtown Middletown Inc,   2). Ohio Main Street Program which is under The National Trust for Historic Preservation   3). The Middletown Historic Commission (this is a new one!? Dougie Duck’s???).    Any of this bureaucratic trio can, and evidently will, raise objection to any new downtown business of Adkins’ choice. If this doesn’t work Adkins can activate, encourage, and direct another bureaucracy to do the job. He can choose from CVB, MMF, Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning and Zoning Department, etc. Adkins also has complete sway over the City Council and City Administration so that he can pick and choose whatever business HE wants them to approve (OR NOT).    For example, the O’Reilly store.   Quoted from The Journal 3/8/17 “The Historic Commission …. denied the building materials for the proposed building because it was not natural stone ….”     Where in their downtown is there a building of natural stone?   Having trouble thinking of even one!! Are we going to require ALL downtown buildings to have natural stone fronts? What we are REALLY talking about here is complete and utterly suffocating CONTROL of every aspect of everything that happens or might happen in Middletown. CONTROL which is IMPEDING the very thing it is purported to be doing ….revitalizing our city.

In the Journal News 3/8/17 the article “Middletown Store Meets Resistance,” -- Mike Robinette, (a highly favored owner of downtown give-away properties) says that “he and other downtown stakeholders will strongly oppose the O’Reilly building and if needed will ENGAGE LEGAL COUNSEL to stop the proposed project” (another city legal expense for the taxpayers to finance). There’s a grateful GIVE-AWAY recipient. Takes a lot of gall to object to someone willing to invest THEIR OWN MONEY. The main reason for their objection was, the article said, “that the proposed design for the auto parts store did not jive with the downtown plan.” The Journal quoted Robinette – “We’re not opposed to an auto parts store, we’re opposed to how this was presented and opposed to a strip mall.” What is the objection about how it was presented??? Without a presentation how will they be heard or considered?   How can a stand alone store be described as a strip mall? Other businesses in the same block have the same general design and parking arrangements as the proposed O’Reilly plan. Now visualize how odd it will appear to have the required parking in the rear unlike everything else on the block!!!   Let’s remember that Robinette has been involved in, but dropped out of, downtown revitalization projects (for example Rose Furniture) some of which were never completed and are now beyond repair even though THE CITY SUBSIDIZED some of them. Do you think Robinette is entitled to oppose a new $2 million business project???

In summation, the city is nearly bankrupt, has no significant new businesses and an anemic tax base.   Therefore, the city administration should be welcoming any legitimate business willing to spend THEIR OWN MONEY to invest in Middletown. Instead city administration has given away property to favored people who have NO MONEY OF THEIR OWN to invest, and then used TAX PAYERS MONEY to subsidize those give-away properties some of which have had little or no work completed. And some of those properties don’t seem to be under much or any scrutiny concerning their compliance with The Historical Commission rules, like natural stone facade. Do you think we could do with less (a lot less) of the previously mentioned useless and petty regulations, objections and suffocating CONTROL??? This looks like the TYRANNY that our fore fathers fought to be rid of and warned against letting it creep back into our government.

Thomas Jefferson said “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
"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: Mar 11 2017 at 7:46am
amen mom
thank  you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2017 at 9:38am

Let us take a little walk down memory lane.
After the roof was removed in the downtown area many business people stepped forward to start the revalidation of the area…however…City Hall had such a death grip of requirements on these properties that investors simply walked away. 

If the O’Reilly store can’t get approval…what kind of business could ever get approval to be built on the Duncan Oil property across the street because it is located at the very gateway to THEIR DOWNTOWN.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2017 at 9:52am
Vivian Moon has reminded us so many times about a City Council meeting a few years back when Mr. A. said, "Give me the power and I will make things happen."  Since then, Judy G. has retired and Middletonians are still waiting for those unnamed things to happen!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2017 at 10:18am

ORDINANCE NO. O2017-12

AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A PROCEDURE FOR AND AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT FOR THE TRANSFER OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1200–1204 FIRST AVENUE TO MJK MANAGEMENT, LLC FOR REDEVELOPMENT.

At the last council meeting an ordinance for the transfer of city owned property located at 1200-12004 First Ave in the amount of $11.39 to MJK Management.
Will this property restoration be held to the same standards by the Middletown Historic Commission?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2017 at 5:10pm
The Journal-News article on 3/8/17 about O’Reilly Auto Parts store downtown said:
“Downtown Middletown Inc. attended the Historic Commission meeting to speak specifically on behalf of the new Downtown Master Plan, she said. The new downtown plan has is currently under review and has not yet been approved by City Council.”
The Journal article also said “One aspect of the plan is bringing buildings close to the street with no parking lots in front, complementing and extending the existing urban development pattern, and minimizing the negative impact of parking.”
Am I reading this wrong?   Is Downtown Middletown Inc. trying to enforce the new Downtown Master Plan that “has not yet been approved by City Council.”???   Is the new plan MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO ALONG for SELECTIVE enforcement? How can council take this seriously?   Will Dan Picard be the only council member to notice that something was wrong?   Unless you’re a buddy or a crony of someone in the city building, you will find it very difficult to establish a business or bring jobs into Middletown.   Therefore, under Adkins and the existing council, our downtown will continue to be plagued with empty storefronts and our bombed-out look. This sort of misguided thinking has gone on for too many years.   Council, are you going to allow some hired or appointed bureaucrats to promote the downward spiral of our city, OR … are you going to wake up and actually do something constructive, OR ... will you get out of the way of others who want to be constructive????
Downtown moochers won’t like being compared to investors with real money. The scary thought of someone actually using their own money seems to terrify would be revitalizers of THEIR downtown. That just might be an impossibly high standard to meet here in Middletown.
Also, the Journal article said that Mallory Greenham, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc. was one downtown business leader who spoke against the new business development. The Journal quoted her : “The prospect site for O’Reilly’s is at the main entrance to the downtown Middletown historic business district, . . . . “What is built on that lot will serve as an unofficial gateway to downtown Middletown and will also set the tone for future infill development.”
Ms. Greenham, do you really think that the current condition of your newly described “gateway to downtown” of overgrown empty lots, empty buildings or empty storefronts is better than a successful business?   WHEN did the bureaucracy arbitrarily decide that the area of the 1800 BLOCK OF CENTRAL AVENUE is the main entrance or unofficial gateway to downtown and is suddenly under scrutiny by the Middletown Historic Commission??   ANSWER: When they wanted to CONTROL, manipulate, extort fees from and harass a legitimate prospective business.!!!! Just who are the Historic Commission and when did that come into being???? And where are their natural stone facades???
"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 Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2017 at 11:26am
Here is the history you need to help you understand DMI 

http://www.middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6306&title=downtown-middletown-inc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2017 at 10:55am
Originally posted by Vivian Moon Vivian Moon wrote:

ORDINANCE NO. O2017-12

AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A PROCEDURE FOR AND AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT FOR THE TRANSFER OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1200–1204 FIRST AVENUE TO MJK MANAGEMENT, LLC FOR REDEVELOPMENT.

At the last council meeting an ordinance for the transfer of city owned property located at 1200-12004 First Ave in the amount of $11.39 to MJK Management.
Will this property restoration be held to the same standards by the Middletown Historic Commission?


The building does fall under the UCC zoning designation, and I believe then that it does fall under the downtown design guidelines.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 18 2017 at 6:28pm
Concerning the new Slice Pizza restaurant downtown on the City Manager’s Blog:

It’s good to see any new enterprise someplace in Middletown, even if it is the usual favored downtown…. BUT, confusion abounds concerning the matter of signage downtown. Please clear up this matter once and for all.   This photo of the sign shows that it’s an obvious VIOLATION of the once required “monument signage only” rule which has been used to harass less favored businesses, new or long established!! It is NOT a monument sign.   At one time the city had also made the argument that this type of sign hanging over the sidewalk was unsafe.   There is NO excuse nor trumped up explanation which can be made to cover up your selective use of frivolous legislation.   And is your legion of Historical watchdogs too busy now with O’Reilly’s sign to notice this one??? Oh!!! Does Council still have the sign ordinance conveniently on the shelf in order to avoid confronting this problem again?   Does this qualify under any newer ordinance concerning UCC, USC zoning??? If all or none of this applies, why aren’t there more signs of this sort being allowed??    Please untangle your maze of yes, no or definitely maybe. Council, you must decide to either allow everyone to use this type of signage or have this one removed!!!

I’m NOT OPPOSED to Slice Pizza’s sign!...BUT I’d like to see everyone treated fairly and equally.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Part ONE of TWO   Water and Sewer Rates

Here is an important topic (a Dougie Duck) which begs repeated attention, because this issue could finish us off.   Adkins would like very much for this issue to be put out of sight … out of mind. It’s fast becoming lost among the quagmire of problems which Adkins and Council keep tossing around; in effect hiding their own contributions to our problems. Their solution to any problem always involves extorting more money from the citizens to make up for their mismanagement and misappropriation.

Notice how Adkins chooses and poses a “fair question” for himself so that he can present his solution to “an unavoidable +/- $400M problem.” Note that in the “background” he gives us…. we are ACCUSED of having lower water and sewer rates than 2/3 to ¾ of other area communities. BUT he doesn’t mention the DISAPPEARANCE of the millions of dollars in funds collected over the last 40+ years which would have paid for all of the water and sewer issues. Over time our city officials discovered, then gutted, the GOLD MINE that once was the rich water and sewer funds. Just as Adkins admits, those funds are ENTERPRISE funds (funds for their SPECIFIED use only) and were ILLEGALLY siphoned off by transfer checks to the “general slush fund” for ANY UNSPECIFIED use that city officials might choose. If the sewer separation had been accomplished years ago when the funds were collected (thereby avoiding the increased cost of doing so today) we wouldn’t have this problem now!!   Here’s some bu$$sh!t’ in your own words … “the General Fund does not contribute to utilities, and therefore income tax receipts from new jobs would not be used to support utilities. EVEN IF THEY DID, however, the math doesn’t work….” You are actually presenting an illegal funding maneuver as a solution, just to blow smoke and confuse the issue. It must be pointed out again that the General Fund was the illegal recipient of the water and sewer funds and they should be returned.

AND obviously, recouping those funds presents a big problem.   To paraphrase Adkins, “We just have to figure out the … smartest ... most effective way” to get our past and present city officials to repay the citizens of Middletown “without disproportionally affecting either our residents or our business community.”

Remember his phrase and determine for yourself what is, in his words “no longer sustainable.” Now read DOUG’S OWN WORDS from The City Managers Blog on CityofMiddletown.org:

Water and Sewer Rates
January 23, 2017City Manager Middletown 1 Comment
I was asked the following question last week:
“What will it take job wise, corporate tax wise, additional residents income/payroll wise, to stop the notion of increasing water, sewer, garbage and other residential tax that you can think of? … We only have so much discretionary income to give and we are saving very little if any for emergencies.”
That’s a fair question, and I’ll try to answer it.
First, some background on why I need the money. Every year, the City of Oakwood compiles water rates for over 60 southwest Ohio cities.  Middletown has historically been in the lower fourth to lower third of area water and sewer rates.  What this means is that 2/3 to 3/4 of southwest Ohio communities have historically had higher water and sewer rates, year after year, than the citizens of Middletown.
We have reached a point where that is no longer sustainable.   Due to the age of our city, we will have large expenditures over the next two decades to keep our water and sewer system viable.   M in the tables below refer to Millions of Dollars. The early estimates look like this:
Combined Sewers Long Term Control Plan
Downtown Storage Facility    $38M
Barnitz Park Area Storage Facility    $54M
Lakeside Storm Water Redirection Green Infrastructure  $14M
Hydraulic Canal Repairs (Germantown Rd. to river)    $10M
  Total LTCP  $116M
Water/Sewer System and Plant Upgrades
Water Distribution System    $100M
Water Treatment Plant    $25M
Sewer Collection System    $142M
Wastewater Treatment Plant    $67M
Total Water/Sewer Upgrades  $252M
Miller Road/Sawyers Mill Sewer Infrastructure  $2M
Street Paving Assoc. w/ LTCP, Water, Sewer Line Upgrades  $25M
GRAND TOTAL  $395M
We will bid all of these projects over time and the actual amount could be higher or lower than the early estimates. Below is the map (not shown here) showing our water distribution system by age.  The sewer map is almost identical showing large portions of the city with water and sewer distribution systems that are over 75 years old.
So we have an unavoidable +/- $400 million problem over the next 20 years.  That gets us back to the original question.  Why raise rates?  Why don’t we add jobs and families to cover this cost?   The answer is twofold.  First, because water and sewer are enterprise funds, income tax would not be used for utility service, and second because the math doesn’t work.
Enterprise funds are self sufficient funds designed to pay utility expenses with fees collected from users of the service.  The City ordinances establish the funds and set fees.  The General Fund does not contribute to utilities, and therefore income tax receipts from new jobs would not be used to support utilities.
Even if they did, however, the math doesn’t work….
$400 million divided by 20 years = $20 million per year for each of the next 20 years.
At a 1.75% income tax rate, it takes $57,142,857 in new payroll to generate $1 million in new income tax revenues.
$57,142,857 divided by $45,000 per job = 1,270 new jobs to generate $1 million in new income tax revenues.
We need $20 million per year for 20 years.  So that equates to 1,270 new jobs x 20 = 25,400 new jobs at $45,000 per job to create $20 million in new income tax revenues.
To pay for the water and sewer repairs, then, we would need to immediately add 25,400 new jobs at $45,000 per job, and then sustain them for each of the next 20 years consecutively.   While we have capacity for growth, we don’t have enough land available to add 25,400 jobs and certainly couldn’t do it in the space of a year or two.
I’ll ask the follow up question myself:  Why don’t we just stick it to the business community with higher rates and go easy on our residents?
We’ve been fighting the image for a while that we can be business unfriendly.  I’m doing what I can to change that image over time.  Jacking up corporate water and sewer rates will not make it attractive to bring new business here, nor will it help our existing businesses grow and add jobs and taxes to the community.
We do have additional water capacity that is not being used right now.  When NTE comes online, they will become our largest water customer and they will pay their share of this bill.  As we add other businesses and future water users, they will also help spread out the cost to more customers.
There’s a balance between the residents and the business community and the rates we charge.  This is a difficult issue that will require thoughtful answers.  The bill is coming due.  We just have to figure out how to pay it most effectively as a city.
Staff will be looking at how we bill water and sewer during 2017 to see if there is a smarter way to charge for necessary repairs without disproportionally affecting either our residents or our business community.   There’s no easy answer here.

That’s right Mr Adkins, there’s no easy answer but all of YOUR ANSWERS TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT … FOR YOU.   You and Council have backed yourselves into this self described impossible, untenable position!!! Your garbled description of the past and present purpose and use of funds, enterprise and/or others makes no sense … and neither does any of your proposed solution. You are blowing smoke to cover your A$$. “The bill is coming due.” You just have to figure out how to get the average resident to shoulder the maximum $ burden juuust before breaking his back. Will the funds from the continually pumped up water bills really be used for the sewer separation or take their historic route to the “general slush fund?” How can you and Council EVER be trusted?

The question which should be posed to Doug is:   Why not use the sewer separation fund that has been COLLECTED FOR 40+ YEARS? … And use the storm water sewer charge that was added to our water bills about 10 to 12 years ago, by falsely stating that it was a federally mandated charge … which IT WAS NOT! The enterprise funds that can only legally be used for sewer separation have disappeared … been misappropriated.   Also, we VOTED to use half of the INCOME TAX to subsidize water, sewer and trash to keep rates low and to make Middletown more attractive to businesses and citizens.   Can’t use that, it’s ALL GONE … MISAPPROPRIATED!!   And that’s CRIMINAL! In Adkins own words: “We have reached a point where that is no longer sustainable.”

Also, money was taken from the enterprise funds (a million dollars at a time) and transferred to Capital Improvement Fund (a non-restricted fund), to cover up misuse of water and sewer money to pave streets, buy real estate (on Hook Drive), etc. The water and sewer funds have proven to be a GOLD MINE for funding everything except water and sewer. It’s NOT that we’re paying too little for water, sewer and trash; it’s that these are the only rates that council can raise without a vote by the citizens. That’s actually a hidden, illegal tax!    COUNCIL … just because this ROBBERY has been perpetrated in the past, does NOT make it right or legal to continue.

Regarding the combined sewers:   What is the purpose of the storage facilities? Have the storage facilities and other band-aid measures been approved by the EPA?   Are you going to spend millions of dollars on storage facilities and still have combined sewers?   Will the combined sewers still have to be separated? Why not JUST DO THE REQUIRED SEPARATION OF SEWERS and finally be done with it? There is NO NEED for his EXPENSIVE, $116M Long Term Control Plan band-aid which is ¼ to 1/3 of his Grand Total Cost of $395M which would be down to $279M.   The money should already be in city coffers. OOP’s, forgot we were robbed! Now we need a REAL AUDIT to see where the money has gone. A budget balance sheet will no longer do.

Now that city administration has been forced into fiscal transparency, anyone can view what’s called the “check book” in the Financial Transparency Portal, OpenGov, on CityofMiddletown.org. The actual checks can be viewed if you click in the right spot. In the records of 2015 you will find numerous checks paid from one fund to another with no real explanatory notes (looks like a laundering maneuver).   One pair of checks in particular had the payer and payee reversed for the exact same large amount on the exact same date.    Are they calling this shell game accounting??   It’s a very scrambled mess and difficult to decipher (purposely??).   Present and previous councils and administrations can and should be held PERSONALLY responsible for any missing money.   Remember the expression “ignorance is no excuse.”

If Adkins wants to change our “business unfriendly image” to promote financial growth; why does he let his historical bureaucracy prevent the building of new legitimate businesses on the fringe of the downtown area?   Middletown is reduced to a beggar level but the historical snobs walk around THEIR downtown with noses in the air.   That’s a friendly image?? That will promote financial growth?   Not too long ago we voted for a safety levy which was to prevent layoffs of police and fire ... and then immediately there were layoffs which resulted in less protection with fewer officers (with top heavy pay grade sergeants & lieutenants). We pay higher taxes for our schools but are academically rated among the lowest. What is really (in Adkins own words) “no longer sustainable” … is the misappropriation, mismanagement nonsense and continual down right CORRUPTION in the city building.
"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 whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2017 at 7:30pm
Part Two Water and Sewer Rates

This excerpt from the workbook for the 3-21-17 council meeting, if carefully read, will reveal another instance of the gross illegal misuse and manipulation of city funds:

“ORDINANCE NO. O2017-13
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING A CONTRACT WITH KELCHNER, INC. FOR THE
YANKEE ROAD (PHASE 3) PROJECT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
PID No. 95124
WHEREAS, the City sought bids for the Yankee Road (Phase 3) project for
the total roadway reconstruction and widening, realignment, water main replacement,
storm sewer improvements, and traffic signal replacement on Yankee Rd. between
Lafayette Ave. and Oxford State Rd.; and
WHEREAS, eight contractors submitted bids for the project and Kelchner, Inc.
submitted the lowest and best bid;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the City Council of the City of
Middletown, Butler/Warren Counties, Ohio that:
Section 1
The City Manager is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Kelchner,
Inc. for the Yankee Road (Phase 3) (PID 95124) project. Services shall consist of the
total roadway reconstruction and widening, realignment, water main replacement,
storm sewer improvements, and traffic signal replacement on Yankee Rd. between
Lafayette Ave. and Oxford State Road. The contract shall be consistent with the
contractor’s low bid therefor, and in a form acceptable to the Law Director and City
Manager.
Section 2
For said purposes the Director of Finance is authorized and directed to expend
a sum not to exceed $5,970,934.91 from the following funds:
Capital Improvement Fund (Fund # 220) in the amount of $3,770,934.91
Water Capital Reserve Fund (Fund # 494) in the amount of $1,500,000.00
Storm Water Capital Reserve Fund (Fund # 415) in the amount of $700,000.00.”


Here’s the revealing breakdown:

1.) Capital Improvement Fund (Fund # 220) in the amount of $3,770,934.91
This is the fund that ILLEGALLY RECEIVES its money FROM the water, sewer and storm water sewer enterprise funds. So essentially this $3M amount IS water and sewer enterprise funds. Let’s be absolutely clear what that means and how it happens … As soon as the water and sewer customers pay enough (more and more each month) to bring their water and sewer fund levels up … the city drains this RESTRICTED fund AGAIN and funnels this money (our water and sewer funds) into the NON-RESTRICTED Capital Improvement Fund. This fund got rich off of our Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds!!!! That $3,770,934.91 is only a drop in the bucket of money stolen from Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds.

Water Capital Reserve Fund (Fund # 494) in the amount of $1,500,000.00

Storm Water Capital Reserve Fund (Fund # 415) in the amount of $700,000.00.

Notice that ALL of the money for the project comes from water and sewer funds. No street funds, no infrastructure funds nor Auto and Gas Funds are used. This is a prime example of the misuse of Enterprise funds

Now we see why the sewer separation fund and the Enterprise funds have no money left in them. Now we know why the water and sewer rates are raised every year. We are at Adkins and Council’s mercy because raising those rates doesn’t require a vote by tax payers … and because it’s a fee which they have the authority to set and apply. That’s how and why they try to say they’re doing this legally … but wait … all that money they continue to collect is continually siphoned off and is used illegally!!!   Remember when Adkins said that he had to raise water and sewer rates to use (illegally) for street repair? This has to be among the lowest of the lowest dirty tricks that a city government could perpetrate!!!

How high will council raise rates when EPA forces them to actually separate the combined sewers??? Would a $200-$250 or more minimum water bill per month surprise you? It should be shocking!!! That, along with high taxes, oppressively corrupt government, drug related high crime and terrible schools will really help attract businesses and people to Middletown where city government is more concerned about trying (but failing) to be the “historically pretty and proper” high society community.
"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 Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2017 at 10:26pm
Regarding dubious uses of Enterprise Funds.................

In July 2008, the Public Works Director was transferred to be the Director of the new Community Revitalization Department.  Their salary/fringe benefits ($110,000 plus annually) continued to be paid from Enterprise Funds.  Also, their Administrative Assistant in Public Works was transferred to the new Community Revitalization Department.  I do not know if they also were paid from Enterprise Funds.

This questionable practice continued until at least January 20, 2009 when I "RESIGNED" my position with the city.  My annual salary/fringe benefits was $40,000+ less.  By comparison, the new Director had no prior experience administering HUD grants, developing and implementing funded programs, etc.

Thank you Whistler's Mom for your recent posts.  Far too much got swept under the rug over the years.  Any decent audit would have noted the above as an "Outstanding Finding" and contrary to Enterprise Funds policies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2017 at 9:19pm
Did CH2 receive a no competition contract for $208k at the 1/17/17 council meeting?  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 10:21am
Adkins has presented this topic on his City Manager’s Blog … quote:

Congratulations, Middletown Small Business Development Center!
MARCH 24, 20173 COMMENTS
We here at the City of Middletown are thrilled to share that our Small Business Development Center (part of the Butler County SBDC) has been nationally chosen as the 2017 Small Business Development Center of the Year with Director David Riggs at the helm in the Middletown office. This means that not only did your local Small Business Development Center earn the title of the best of 27 centers in Ohio, they were selected as the best SBDC of 1,000 centers across the country. Our SBDC was also the first center in Ohio to ever win the national award. That’s a pretty big deal!
The Small Business Development Center serves as a valuable asset to the public: it is open to meeting with anyone who has a viable business idea for Middletown. The SBDC will sit down with you, listen to your business idea, and assist you in stepping in the right direction in making your business idea a reality.
The Middletown Small Business Development Center is located in the City of Middletown Municipal Building on the second floor. It is open during regular business hours; however, our SBDC is a partnership with Hamilton – if you do not make an appointment, there is a chance David will be in Hamilton when you visit our building.
Way to go, SBDC!

And here are the comments that follow it:

3 thoughts on “Congratulations, Middletown Small Business DevelopmentCenter!”

1. Nancy Pence
March 24, 2017 at 11:16 pm
Well done!
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2. Whistlersmom
March 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm
According to today’s Journal-News, The BUTLER COUNTY Small Business Development Center is the recipient of this award in which Middletown is a very minor player. David Riggs, the COUNTY’S SBCD Director, has his main office in Hamilton. The chances are he will rarely be present “at the helm in the Middletown office.”
The paper also cited this breakdown by the numbers FROM 2015 (the year of the State Auditor’s “warning of a fiscal cliff” for Middletown):
“1,109 counseling hours, helping small businesses generate more than $2.8 million in new sales, creating 115 jobs and retaining 187 jobs, according to the state. The center also served 98 individual long-term clients and connected companies to $3,036,099 in capital.”

Tell us what percentage of these numbers belonged to Middletown in 2015 and show us proof! No talking in circles!
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City Manager Middletown
March 27, 2017 at 12:22 pm
I wasn’t trying to hide the ball. I amended the post to reflect that the Middletown office is part of the Butler County SBDC. Thanks for the comment.

End Quote.

Please note that Adkins did not answer the question “what percentage of the numbers belonged to Middletown?”!!!! Why?? Maybe because Middletown’s numbers were so tiny that he would be embarrassed to say! He continues to ignore any uncomplimentary remarks wherever he finds them. Heads up bloggers! Careful reading of The City Managers Blog on CityofMiddletown.org may contain some revelations hidden in Doug’s own words. We just need to blow the smoke away!!!
"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 What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 10:55am
So, this "Middletown Small Business Development Center" and Director Riggs are new on the scene? How long has this entity been around? I don't recall this operation being announced as a viable part of the city operations or is this a new name for an old operation?

I thought DMI was calling the shots, at least in the downtown area, as to small business development for this city. I've not heard the SBDC mentioned in the same breath as the DMI. We have all read where the new business application for the proposed O'Reilly's car parts store on Central has gained the attention of the "Historical" group putting their two cents into the proposal. We know that DMI is controlling who comes and who goes in the downtown area, right?

So how does this "MSBDC" interact with the DMI and the Historical people to get anything done as it pertains to small businesses? Is this a duplication of effort here? Do they work against each other at times?

And why isn't this new entity involved in the city plan along with DMI, or are they?

Adkins blog makes it appear as if Middletown is the controlling factor in this Development Center when, in fact, it encompasses the Butler County region and Middletown is one of many players in this, correct?

So, according to Adkins, if the Middletown SBDC will "sit down with you, listen to your business ideas, and assist you in the right direction"...... why does it seem as if the DMI, historical people, city council, the downtown arts community and the city manager are in control of the entire game plan for the city as to development? Why isn't the SBDC not in control of this?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:01pm
In Adkins’ new post, titled Community Reinvestment Area Agreements Downtown on his City Manager blog he says:

“There have been a few questions raised about why the city is so generous with Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) property tax breaks downtown. . . . Our CRA agreements downtown waive property taxes for a specific time period for investment in the building. The waiver only applies to the increase in value of the building, not the “as is” value of the building before the investment.
As an example, let’s say a downtown building is worth $100,000. The owner invests $50,000 into the building in façade improvements, new heating and air conditioning, roof, etc. For the purposes of the example, we’ll say the owner gets the whole value of his or her investment and the building is now worth $150,000 ($100,000 before investment plus $50,000 in improvements.) The CRA agreement waives the property taxes on the additional value of the building only. What this means is that the property owner will continue to pay property taxes on the original value ($100,000) but the city will waive additional property taxes due on the increased value ($50,000) for the time period of the CRA agreement."

What if we take a look at the numerous properties DOWNTOWN in the last few years that were given away or sold for maybe $11. Tax waivers on those mean that they will pay property taxes on the original value . . . THAT’S $0.00 to $11.00. And on the majority of those, there have been little or no improvements but rather further deterioration. Tax waivers ARE a good tool, EXCEPT when they are ABUSED and MISUSED. Who would pay, as in Adkins’ example, $100,000 (the taxable amount) for a property next door to one that was given away and on which no taxes would be paid?

The rest of Adkins’ desperate attempt to make this look good is a lot of smoke that we will continue to blow away.
"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 What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 2:29pm
I have a question for Mr. Adkins concerning giving a new business a 5-10-12.....year tax abatement.

What happens if the city and the business negotiate this tax abatement in good faith and the business decides to pack up and leave after, say, eight years, before the tax abatement time period is over? They enjoyed eight years without paying a portion of their total tax commitment, left the city on their terms or as their business declined, and left the city holding the bag and shortchanged as a result.

When the city is in tax abatement negotiations with a business, is there a penalty that the business will pay if they leave early in the deal?

Mr. Adkins refers to the CRA in the downtown area but doesn't mention the other parts of town. Does this apply to all parts of town or just the downtown and, if so, why?



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