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The City Manager's Blog

Printed From: MiddletownUSA.com
Category: Middletown City Government
Forum Name: City Council
Forum Description: Discuss individual members and council as a legislative body.
URL: http://www.middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6423
Printed Date: May 28 2017 at 2:36am


Topic: The City Manager's Blog
Posted By: VietVet
Subject: The City Manager's Blog
Date Posted: Feb 19 2017 at 8:40pm
Don't normally do this but just went to the City Manager's Blog and the initial post described the inner workings regarding communication in preparation for upcoming council meetings. Mr. Adkins goes on to explain that he has a senior staff meeting to discuss city matters and also has a system where discussions between he and council members occur and council members are given the chance to ask questions concerning upcoming legislation prior to the actual meeting. This allows the council meetings to go more smoothly as the questioning portion has already been accomplished outside the meeting resulting in the council members aligning their votes in quick fashion that usually results in a rubber stamp 5-0 vote. This is why we never see any council member ask a question during the meetings. Any questions council has has already been answered outside the council chambers by the time the council meeting rolls around. It is almost as if the council meetings are programmed, preconceived and are for public appeasement purposes only.

All of this activity seems quite efficient but.........

Isn't this city business that is conducted outside the normal format of a council meeting and as such, isn't this a violation of the Sunshine Law where all city business discussion must occur in public view to allow the public to actually see the decision making as it happens? Are all city meetings, in most cities, held in a public venue, conducted this way?


Anyone have some clarity on this?

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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.



Replies:
Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 9:17am
Depends.  I would not think an exchange between the City Manager and a Council member over email seeking clarification as a violation. 

While efficient, I think it can be harmful to the general population's understanding of the issue at hand.  Anita Scott Jones, while on council, would often as for clarification for sake of the public's understanding.  


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 9:36am
smells like Doug's duck


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 10:33am
Read Doug Adkins own words below, and determine for yourself if this not admission of a direct violation of our Sunshine Law and an affront to our democracy which depends on open honest government.

Middletown City Manager Douglas Adkins
www.cityofmiddletown.org

City Council Deliberations
February 17, 2017City Manager Middletown Leave a comment

I’m sometimes asked why Council seems to rubber stamp whatever I put in front of them.
It may seem as though there is no consideration given when the actual vote is taken, but let me explain how we get to Tuesday night’s vote at each Council meeting.
When I interviewed with City Council to take this position, I laid out for them a five year plan which I’ve talked about extensively in this blog.  I proposed a style of government, and changes in policies and strategies to return us to sustainable revenues by 2020.  The plan covered almost every aspect of City government.  City Council liked the style of the plan and its concepts and I got the job.
As I’ve moved through my first two years, everything I’ve put in front of City Council has been consistent with the five year plan I outlined when I took the job.  So… as long as I’m putting things in front of them that are consistent with what I told them I was going to do and what they told me that wanted me to do, that immediately takes care of one level of scrutiny.   What Council votes on looks like Doug’s duck, smells like Doug’s duck, so it’s probably Doug’s duck.
Next, City Council each year passes an annual budget a couple hundred pages long that lists by fund and by line item what I am proposing to spend in the next year.  That budget is passed each November for the next year.  When I bring an item to City Council, we let them know if this is part of the budget and the projects in the budget that they have already passed.  If it is, then again, there is reduced scrutiny needed because they have already approved the spending and the matter before them is the actual contract for the project and for spending that they have already approved in the annual budget.
Third, we have bidding requirements set by state law and local ordinance.  If the matter before council requires bidding, we include information showing that we followed the appropriate bidding process and why we selected the vendor chosen.  If project was in the budget and the money is appropriated for that project, and we followed the bidding procedures, then less scrutiny is needed.  The matter is consistent with the five year plan, in the budget, and properly bid.
Finally, we have items or opportunities or problems that come up unexpectedly during the year.  The burden is on city staff to provide City Council with enough information ahead of time to make educated decisions on unexpected events.   Grants are notorious for having a small window to apply for  and then spend the funds provided.
For example, we recently were awarded a grant from BWC for two power cots to assist in lifting patients into ambulances.  The funds were released quickly and the window to order the cots and spend the money was less than the 60 days normally required for two readings and 30 days to take effect.  So that one was an Emergency.
For each item to be taken before City Council requiring legislation, I have the relevant department head prepare a staff report that explains why the legislation is needed, where the funding will come from, which project this relates to, etc.   Those staff reports are due about two weeks before the actual council meeting date.
I review and approve the staff reports two Thursdays before the actual meeting.  For the February 21 meeting, I approved the staff reports on February 9th.  After approving the staff reports, I send City Council information letting them know the tentative subjects of the upcoming meeting and the general nature of what will be coming before them.
If there is something unusual, I try to provide more thorough information earlier so that they can think about the issue and ask preliminary questions.  When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review.
On the Wednesday before the City Council meeting, or in this case,  February 15th for the February 21 meeting, I have a senior staff meeting and we review the entire agenda and staff reports and finalize the next week’s meeting.
At that point, the final agenda and the workbook for the meeting is sent to each Council member with all  staff reports and documents needed to be ready to vote on Tuesday for the meeting.  This is the agenda and workbook that are posted on the City web page for public review.
City Council then has from about Thursday afternoon the prior week to the council meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday night to review the detailed information provided and ask any final questions before the meeting.
My policy has always been that City Council can ask anything about anything on the agenda up until Tuesday night.   On Tuesday night, I want them to come to Council with all of their questions answered and with a full understanding of what I want them to vote on.  The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented.  They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.
If there is a serious problem with what I have proposed, generally it would have been raised by City Council two weeks ago when I first told them what was coming on the agenda.  At that point, we can either answers questions and provide information sufficient to resolve their concerns, or we can pull the items from the agenda before we finalize the meeting because City Council is not ready to move forward with whatever the issue is in its current form.
So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience.  All questions previously and completely answered.  All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.
Don’t be upset that your council doesn’t ask a lot of questions on Tuesday night.  You should be confident that a mundane Tuesday night means that your City Council has done  their homework and had all of their questions answered, documentation provided, and that they are making informed decisions on each item presented.
Most of the time, that’s exactly how it goes….


Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 10:58am
What is a meeting, as defined in the Ohio Open Meetings Act?
In order for the Open Meetings Act to apply, the members of a public body must be meeting to discuss the public’s business. A meeting is a prearranged gathering of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of discussing public business. R.C. 121.22(B)(2). For example, if there are five members of a school board, and only two get together to discuss public business, this is not a meeting and the Open Meetings Act would not require it to be open to the public. However, if three members gather to discuss public business, this is a meeting and the Open Meetings Act would require it to be open to the public. Also, if there is a meeting as defined by the Open Meetings Act, the public body must give notice to the public.


Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 11:03am
Also:

Beginning on page 97:
http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/YellowBook" rel="nofollow - http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/YellowBook

Prearranged
 The Open Meetings Act governs prearranged discussions,871 but does not prohibit unplanned encounters between members of public bodies, such as hallway discussions. One court has found that an unsolicited and unexpected email sent from one board member to other board members is clearly not a prearranged meeting; nor is a spontaneous one-on-one telephone conversation between two members of a five-member board.



Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 11:41am
This is in violation of the Sunshine laws! Doug said that council’s vote is predetermined before the meeting, and if there are not enough votes it will be pulled from the agenda. That is a violation. When is council going to realize that rules and laws matter? Honesty and integrity should be of utmost importance of local governments. Hiding council discussion and decisions behind phone calls and emails which are not spontaneous, not unexpected, not unsolicited among and including all the council members, is cutting the public out of our city government. Maybe the secrecy and dishonesty is the reason Middletown is morally and fiscally bankrupt.


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 12:41pm
I encourage MUSA participants to do an internet search of many other U.S. municipalities that hold pre-city council agenda meetings and/or workshops regarding same.  You will find communities that even televise these pre-city council meetings that are open to the public.  You will also find meeting minutes of said pre-city council meetings posted on their respective websites.  Information is power and the citizenry deserves open, honest, accountable and competent governance.  The truth shall set the captives free.


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 2:37pm
roll-up yer window and hold yer nose
there's a dead duck in the middle of the road


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 5:42pm
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:


... If there is something unusual, I try to provide more thorough information earlier so that they can think about the issue and ask preliminary questions.  When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review. ...

This is essentially the same issue that was litigated in Cincinnati Post v. City of Cincinnati (I believe that is the citation), except this is the electronic version!!!

If anyone has the time or money to litigate this, I believe that they would also be successful, as this is essentially an "electronic city council meeting" that is NOT open to the public. 


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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Feb 20 2017 at 5:48pm
1 more
is it Doug's duck or a cooked goose?


Posted By: middielover
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 7:13am
Everything City Manager described is within the legal requirements of the sunshine law.
Making up issues where none exists seems to be the primary purpose of this website and most of it's contributors.
With so many real issues to discuss perhaps it is time for an alternative to middletownusa.


Posted By: What A City
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 11:42am
middielover:

"With so many real issues to discuss perhaps it is time for an alternative to middletownusa"

Then why bother to participate middielover? By your post, isn't this a waste of your time to read this forum?


Please do find an alternative middielover. I encourage it. It is very simple. If you don't like what is said on this forum, knowing that the forum leans more toward favoring an independent/adversarial theme versus the old "support anything and everything the city does/says" mantra, I would suggest you start your own blog inclusive to only those who support the city leaders 100%. Go......Blog......Drink the Jim Jones Kool-Aid. You will be happy....we will be happy and your buddies in the city building will be happy that there is a forum solely devoted to their endeavors with only positive praise for anything they do. That will solve the occasional city shill/court jester, bought and paid for and incapable of any independent thinking what so ever, from cluttering up the pages on this forum.


Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 12:11pm
I would encourage any and all parties who believe there is a violation of sunshine/open meeting act to file a formal grievance. 

Below is taken from the link listed above.  

I will give Doug and his team much credit for advance publishing of the Council workbook.  Workbooks are available for public viewing most of the time a full week in advance of the Council meeting.  This is much improvement over the previous Admin.  At times, workbooks would not be available until a day before the meeting.

This advance publishing allows for resident consumption and the ability to reach out to their elected officials in advance to have their concerns or questions answered.

Much thanks to Vivian, who posts the Agenda on MUSA in advance of meeting. 

Discussing Public Business 
With narrow exemptions, the Open Meetings Act requires the members of a public body to discuss and deliberate on official business only in open meetings. 881 “Discussion” is the exchange of words, comments, or ideas by the members of a public body.882 “Deliberation” means the act of weighing and examining reasons for and against a choice.883 One court has described “deliberation” as a thorough discussion of all factors involved, a careful weighing of positive and negative factors, and a cautious consideration of the ramifications of the proposal, while gradually arriving at a decision.884 Another court described the term as involving “a decisional analysis, i.e., an exchange of views on the facts in an attempt to reach a decision.”885 In evaluating whether particular gatherings of public officials constituted “meetings,” several courts of appeals have opined that the Open Meetings Act “is intended to apply to those situations where there has been actual formal action taken; to wit, formal deliberations concerning the public business.”886 Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act.887 More importantly, the Ohio Supreme Court has not ruled on whether “investigative and informational” gatherings are or are not “meetings.” Consequently, public bodies should seek guidance from their legal counsel about how such gatherings are viewed by the court of appeals in their district, before convening this kind of private gathering as other than a regular or special meeting. Those courts that have distinguished between “discussions” or “deliberations” that must take place in public, and other exchanges between a majority of its members at a prearranged gathering, have opined that the following are not “meetings” subject to the Open Meetings Act: • Question-and-answer sessions between board members, the public body’s legal counsel, and others who were not public officials, was not a meeting because a majority of the board members did not engage in discussion or deliberation of public business with one another


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 1:05pm
"The liberties of a people never were, nor never will be , secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them...To cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man."
Patrick Henry


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 5:30pm
Listed again below, in Doug’s own words, are instances where Doug and council, as a group, appear to be discussing and deliberating public business before council meetings. This is a violation of the Open Meetings Act according to the highlighted excerpt posted by swohio75 from, I believe, ORC 886...

Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act

To be absolutely clear, in other words, this states that discussion or deliberation of public business by public officials (council) IS considered a meeting. And therefore it appears that Doug and council are in violation. Middletown’s citizens have the right to see, hear and be involved in discussions and deliberations of all public city business. Our council meetings seem to be carefully planned, orchestrated, and finalized for the council rubber stamp.
Quotes from Doug:

“When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review.”

“At that point, the final agenda and the workbook for the meeting is sent to each Council member with all  staff reports and documents needed to be ready to vote on Tuesday for the meeting.”

“City Council then has from about Thursday afternoon the prior week to the council meeting at 5:30pm on Tuesday night to review the detailed information provided and ask any final questions before the meeting.”

“My policy has always been that City Council can ask anything about anything on the agenda up until Tuesday night.   On Tuesday night, I want them to come to Council with all of their questions answered and with a full understanding of what I want them to vote on.  The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented.  They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.”

“If there is a serious problem with what I have proposed, generally it would have been raised by City Council two weeks ago when I first told them what was coming on the agenda.  At that point, we can either answers questions and provide information sufficient to resolve their concerns, or we can pull the items from the agenda before we finalize the meeting because City Council is not ready to move forward with whatever the issue is in its current form.”

“So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience.  All questions previously and completely answered.  All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.”

“Don’t be upset that your council doesn’t ask a lot of questions on Tuesday night.  You should be confident that a mundane Tuesday night means that your City Council has done  their homework and had all of their questions answered, documentation provided, and that they are making informed decisions on each item presented.
Most of the time, that’s exactly how it goes….”

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 21 2017 at 6:41pm
Please note that Doug is extremely careful not to use the terms discussion or deliberation anywhere in the text, but uses only the term information. This careful wording seems to be an effort to avoid revealing that in fact discussion IS taking place via question and answer. All this out of view and earshot of the public. In Doug's own words:

"When one council member asks a question, I answer the question and send the information to all Council members for review"

"The only question Tuesday night should generally be whether or not to pass the legislation presented. They should fully understand what we are proposing and why we believe it is in the best interest of the city to pass the requested legislation.”

“So theoretically, Tuesday is a pretty mundane experience. All questions previously and completely answered. All information previously provided.   City Council makes a fully understood and educated decision on each piece of legislation.”


No wonder there is no discussion at council meetings! It's already been discussed and council has its orders to vote as directed.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 6:16am
swohio75:

"Under this analysis, those courts have determined that gatherings strictly of an investigative and information-seeking nature that do not involve actual discussion or deliberation of public business are not “meetings” for purposes of the Open Meetings Act"

But these are NOT "gatherings" ohio75. The communication is a phone call, an E-mail, text or a communication method OTHER THAN a "gathering" or open meeting between the city manager and the council members done in the private format out of the public's eye. A "gathering" would constitute an assembly of members in one common location. If one reads Adkin's post on his blog, one could conclude that there is discussion concerning city business that is conducted outside the council chambers that ultimately leads to a formation of a decision that is then brought to council meetings and a vote by the council member is rendered. Therefore, one might conclude that the discussion outside the chamber is where the decision was made and as such, would be in violation of the Sunshine Law. The city manager and council member(s) is not only seeking information as your line suggests, they are making the decision right then and there out of public view. It is a secretive way of operating using the system Adkins describes in his post.

This answers the discussion......

"Those courts that have distinguished between “discussions” or “deliberations” that must take place in public"

This is not happening according to Adkin's post.

Bottom line.....it really shouldn't have gotten this far. If Adkins and the council were straight shooters, they would want to discuss city business in view of the public to eliminate this type of distrust. Adkins is always repeating that he has nothing to hide and is forthcoming in his information. If that is so, why do we have this situation. Right or wrong, this makes the city manager look like a back room, secretive dealer to the people when he/council discuss city business out of the public's view. The secrecy is re-enforced when we see council ask no questions at meeting time as it appears the decisions have already been made prior to the meeting. The people deserve better than that.


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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: swohio75
Date Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 8:27am
This is my final comment on this issue.

If you have a problem and believe the city is non compliant with the Sunshine Law, file a grievance.

Either sh*t or get of the pot as the old saying goes. 


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 10:09am
Yes, a full business day has passed since this was posted.  Old news.  Sad!


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 22 2017 at 10:55pm
Now that Doug Adkins has established, in his own words, how he circumvents the Open Meetings Act, let’s review the ugly consequences of this.

And dear news media of all sorts (Journal-News, TV channels 9 & 12 in Cincinnati, etc.), here’s your opportunity to report other views of Middletown’s news than the trumped up rosy pictured fluff dictated to you by city officials.

Below is a brief and partial list of Council’s rubber stamp legislation which Doug Adkins had carefully prepared for Council’s immediate vote of approval, no discussion needed. Closer scrutiny of each item in other forums on this blog will reveal favoritism, mismanagement, and misuse of city funds ad infinitum. A complete list can not be contained in this post.

(1). The Journal News reported the “Middletown Fiscal Condition Alert” but allowed city officials to put their spin on it, to make it appear of no consequence. Evidence to the contrary, Moody’s downgrading of Middletown’s credit rating (twice in the last few years), was swept under the table by city officials.

(2). Here is a brief list of notorious, pet downtown properties which have been touted as prime for revitalization: Goetz Tower, Rose Furniture, Manchester Inn, Journal Building and Liberty Spirits. Some of these have been tossed between LLC’s of (sometimes) unknown ownership for nominal dollars; and some have been virtually given away and/or are vacant and deteriorating, perhaps beyond recovering. The former C G & E building and First National Bank building had high end tenants (lawyers, etc.) in upper floors, but were forced out in favor of less viable owners and/or tenants (Cincinnati State), or buildings were left empty. Cincinnati State was subsidized, but never lived up to their promises of 5000 (then 3000, now ?) students. Don’t forget the give away then buy back by the city, of the old senior citizens building which now sits empty while the city rents unnecessary office space in Goetz Tower (in effect subsidizing that LLC).

(3). Separation of sewers funds which have been, and continue to be, collected for years, also continue to be raided and misappropriated. Water, sewer and trash rates are on a scheduled series of raises for a slush fund to be siphoned away for who knows what. The level of arsenic in our city water may be above the allowable limit but our citizens remain unaware. This may have been discussed in advance of council meetings but never during the meetings.


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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 24 2017 at 5:28pm
Now let’s see...how many more feathers can we pluck from Doug Adkins’ self described ducks?

And dear media, if you have enough pluck to do some investigative reporting, this blog is a good resource! Let’s stop aiding and abetting the city’s misguidance.

Oh, and dear past and present council members, who do you think will ultimately be held responsible for the dire consequences Middletown has suffered? Not Judy Gilleland! Not Doug Adkins! You hired him(them). You are the governing body. And you can bet they will say that they were only carrying out your orders. I would not want to be under that cloud of pressure and responsibility!!!

Back to plucking feathers. Here’s a continuation of the list of Doug’s suggested legislation which council has rubber stamped for him.

(4).   Many of our non-profit programs that were benefiting our city have disappeared as a result of funding being confiscated. Because non-profit funds must pass through a government agency, Adkins seems to think any or all of that money is subject to his and Councils discretion. At Adkins direction, city council further curtailed the funds which came from the cable company monopoly expressly for the public access channel, TV Middletown. The city was already retaining the majority of this fund but council and Adkins said “out of the goodness of our hearts we will pass on some of it” to TV Middletown. What happened to the remaining funds?? As a result, for lack of sufficient funds, TV Middletown could no longer function, was dismantled and the public lost an important access to city council meetings. Public oversight of council meetings became more difficult or impossible for the majority of citizens who can not attend in person. All the better for Adkins to keep the public in the dark! Is the cable company still sending funds for the defunct TV Middletown? Probably not. Did PAWS move to Monroe for similar reason? Did we lose the non-profit funds for historic Middletown Cemetery this way?

(5). Citizens passed a safety levy that assured the citizens of no lay-offs in safety personnel. So why are our streets now patrolled by State Highway Patrol? Was money siphoned from this fund or is the highest paid police department in the state unable to do the job of protecting the citizens? Are the special police/inspectors who may be looking for abandoned properties to raze, paid from the safety funds more important than law and order police? Being one of the highest crime areas in the state is another reason for the steady decline of Middletown. For years there have been complaints that the police department is not answering their phone when called to report non-emergency crimes/problems. (Are they screening their calls with caller ID?) This does not lower the reported crime rate, it just means they don’t take crime reports.

(6). It appears that Weatherwax Golf Course was illegally sold to an investor who turned around and sold it to Metro Parks at a profit. It took our legal department, perhaps months, to transfer the deed because there were restrictions not allowing the sale to a private owner. How did this suddenly become legal and who in the Butler Co. office expedited it? Where did the money from this “deal” go? The land (which included Sebald Park) was gifted to Middletown and the deed originally said that it would all remain in public hands and remain green space. Since Council failed to make a profit did they ever think to get a professional golf course management company to run Weatherwax? Selling Sebald Park, giving away Bicentennial Commons and destroying our swimming pools are also all mistakes from which Middletown can never recover. Now we pay ever higher taxes for lower performing schools and no amenities. Know any prospective business or resident who finds this attractive?

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 27 2017 at 9:06pm
Umm...there are so many ducks to pluck in Adkins row it’s difficult to chose. But there are a few that stand out more than others. So, here are more of Doug’s suggestions that council rubber stamped.

(7). This one began in the form of an egg, and while Adkins was heading up revitalization under Judy Gilleland. It’s name is Section 8. Adkins announced that if council would give him the power he would fix the problems we had with this program. After falling well below and failing to fill the required 95% of 1662 vouchers, the federal agency, HUD, notified city officials that they were in violation. The city was given two choices to avoid being prosecuted for non-compliance. (1). Come back into compliance OR (2). Transfer Section 8 to the counties (Butler and Warren). Adkins announced that they didn’t need to comply or follow the rules and that, anyway, HUD would not do anything about it for years. So, when the notification was ignored, HUD officials transferred the local Section 8 program to the two counties.   Please NOTE that when the city lost the program we also lost the administrative fees and payroll for the inspectors (some newly hired by Adkins) and other personnel, being paid through and by the HUD program; all because Adkins refused to follow the rules. Is there any pending litigation for the non-compliance? Are all the, now unneeded, new inspectors still on city payroll? YES, and that’s expensive. HOW, and WHY would council hire Adkins as city manager after witnessing his debacle of Section 8? Recently, as city manager, Adkins tried to tell us, on this blog, that it was part of his “plan” under his “management” that Middletown had less than 1000 vouchers filled as some sort of brag. Where did he get his figures and why would he make such a statement when he no longer had anything to do with Section 8? When questioned, he had no answer!!!


(8). Adkins’ misuse of funds from the Moving Ohio Forward grants was behind the destruction of about 400 properties in Middletown. Originally under this program, ONLY residential property was eligible and must be considered blighted or in disrepair AND be abandoned or foreclosed. Some homes in good neighborhoods were razed ONLY because they were vacant or the owner walked away from it (abandoned it) when they could no longer afford to live there and pay the taxes. (Perhaps they lost their job …. no surprise in Middletown’s economic desert.) Some commercial properties were razed under false claims that they were residences. Please NOTE, after the initial tear down of notably blighted properties, in order to balloon the $ amount from the grant, Adkins unleashed his “nuisance” inspectors (the real nuisances in Middletown who work in the city building) to go on the hunt of ANY property that they could declare unoccupied (therefore consider abandoned) or could trump up “nuisance” violations of things like real or imagined peeling paint (that they could consider blight) to harass home owners. After three nuisance violations trumped up by the city, true or not, they might want to declare your property blighted and tear it down. Therefore ANY house can become a nuisance on the whim of an inspector. Maybe your house is next unless you’re one of their buddies!
Under the grant, the city had to take possession of the properties to be razed, but the city DID NOT take possession. Without taking possession, the properties could not legally be transferred to the land bank. It’s unconstitutional for any entity to demolish someone else’s property. Doug said that we have not been reimbursed for demolitions. (Could Adkins be in trouble with Moving Ohio Forward?) So, Adkins had the cost of demolition (multiplied by two and a half) tacked onto each individual owner’s property taxes!!! How’s that for gouging citizens (who are already vulnerable) and for using the system to commit such dirty tricks??? Looks like Doug Adkins wants reimbursement several times from different sources.
Also, under the Moving Ohio Forward grant Middletown was required to make matching funds. So when Adkins found himself short of funds again, he tried to raid other funds including the Community Development Block Grant money as matching funds, but was told that was illegal. So he laundered the CDBG money by moving CDBG money to a fund for a new fire engine (legally allowable) but then removed (laundered) the money from the “fire engine fund” to use as matching funds anyway. Multiple funds were raided in a similar manner. May not be illegal, but it should be.

The consequences of this Dougie Duck are permanent loss of tax revenue on now vacant lots with the added expense to the city for mowing and other upkeep on them, and our bombed out appearance which may be on a par with the blighted appearance.

(9). Having high taxes, no amenities, incompetent government and very poor performing schools has encouraged businesses and residents to move away. Under Adkins “management” we have fewer businesses and jobs. Now we have many vacant commercial and residential properties which could have been assets, bringing in property tax, income tax and sales tax from resident families that would be able to shop locally. Attracting jobs and having more people paying into the system will always be better than demolishing our city. Council, can’t you see that destroying our homes, businesses and amenities (swimming pools and parks) is NOT revitalization? Adkins is still pursuing government grants to raze more buildings. But this is just a smoke screen for his inability to attract businesses, create jobs and build our tax base which would then allow us to lower our taxes, not raise them as he continues to insist. Lower taxes will make us more attractive to businesses and residents!! When is council going to wake up and address the real problems that plague Middletown, which are all mainly the result of gross mismanagement?



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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Feb 27 2017 at 9:15pm
"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 05 2017 at 1:25pm
The workbook for next week's City Council meeting includes the city staff proposed budget for the 2017-18 CDBG
Annual Action Plan.  Of the $670,261 provided to the city by HUD, $474,397 (70% plus) will be spent for
administrative purposes (Rehab Program Delivery, Code Enforcement and Administration).

Emergency Repair Assistance - $50,000
Rehab Program Delivery - $15,000
Fair Housing (H.O.M.E.) - $5,000
Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio, LLC - $15,000
Community Center - $41,000
Senior Center - $46,000
Code Enforcement - $330,345
Demolition - $38,864
Administration - $129,052 (Estimated)
TOTAL = $670,261

For some reason, the workbook does not mention the amount of HUD funds to be received for the 2017-18 HOME
Program, NSP program income, etc.


Posted By: Analytical
Date 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.


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: VietVet
Date 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.

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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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 ???



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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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!!!

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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.”


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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 11 2017 at 7:46am
amen mom
thank  you!


Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date 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.




Posted By: Analytical
Date 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!


Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date 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?



Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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???

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date 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


Posted By: swohio75
Date 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.  


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 22 2017 at 7:58pm
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.


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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date 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.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: Analytical
Date 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.


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 24 2017 at 9:19pm
Did CH2 receive a no competition contract for $208k at the 1/17/17 council meeting?  


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 27 2017 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!
Like
REPLY

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!
Like
REPLY

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!!!

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: What A City
Date Posted: Mar 27 2017 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?


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 27 2017 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.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: What A City
Date Posted: Mar 27 2017 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?





Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 29 2017 at 2:03pm
According to the Journal-News, Monday, March 27,2017 there is a change in funding regarding:

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.

which was discussed here and posted March 23, 2017, Part two of water and sewer rates by whistlersmom.

Quote from the newspaper, 3/27/17:

“City officials said the project will be funded by $3.77 million in OKI and Ohio Public Works Commission grants; $1.5 million from the city’s water capital reserve fund; and $700,000 from the city’s storm sewer capital fund. The local funds were included in the city’s 2017 Capital Improvement Budget.”

Soooo . . . there is still NO funding coming from street funds, infrastructure funds nor Auto and Gas Funds. This is STILL a prime example of the misuse of Enterprise Funds. Remember the city drained the RESTRICTED water and sewer enterprise funds and funneled this money into the NON-RESTRICTED Capital Improvement Fund (and the 2017 Capital Improvement Budget). This fund is STILL getting rich off of our Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds!!!! ESSENTIALLY, THE CITY IS NOW LIVING OFF OF OUR OVER BLOWN WATER AND SEWER BILLS!! This also means that in the near future we will likely be forced by EPA to separate the combined sewers. Our city officials have failed, for the last 40 years, to use the RESTRICTED Storm Water and Sewer ENTERPRISE Fund to separate the combined sewers. Our current city officials are just as culpable as those from earlier years for this failure.

Regarding the $700,000 from the city’s storm sewer capital fund . . . wasn’t that fund strictly for separating the combined sewers and for NOTHING OTHER THAN THAT!!!? I don’t think there are any combined sewers on Yankee Road.

Do you wonder when the OKI and Ohio Public Works Commission grants APPEARED?

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 31 2017 at 12:27pm

The City Managers Blog on CityofMiddletown.org deserves to be carefully read . . . its very revealing! Take note in the following quote of Doug’s reply to whistlersmom’s very critical initial post on his Water and Sewer Rates topic on his blog; he doesn’t edit the responses to his blog post. And I was very critical of his entire “explanation” for raising water and sewer rates.

“I don’t edit the responses to my blog post. You’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m sure that there is nothing I’m going to say here that will impact how you feel about things. Our finances are online for everyone to see. Our books are audited every year for compliance with Ohio and Federal law. Last year we were audited by the State of Ohio and awarded their Audit with Distinction award for having no questionable costs.”

I stated in reply that the cursory award (which nearly every community receives) for the audit he spoke of more resembles a balance sheet. After I pointed out numerous flaws in his “reasoning” he attempted to hide behind a lot of rhetoric ending with the following quote:

“Here’s one last thought. I’m an attorney and your City Manager. What possible reason would I have to jeopardize my job and my law license by committing illegal or unethical acts for the city? My law license is my bread and butter. I’m not putting it at risk for this city… period.”

I took special note of the cryptic “Here’s one last thought . .” And sure enough he did exactly what he said he doesn’t do!! My next post on his Water and Sewer Rates topic, immediately after the above was edited out!!! That post was nearly verbatim to my post here on MUSA concerning the illegal funding of the Yankee Rd (Phase 3) project with Water and Sewer funds. And note that he will not be putting HIMSELF at risk for the city of Middletown . . . but I think City Council MEMBERS, past and present, should take note and beware . . . they may be held responsible for our city’s demise while Adkins may escape to greener pastures before the ax falls.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: May 03 2017 at 9:27pm
Quoted from Middletown.org, The City Managers Blog

First Quarter City Reports 2017

April 27, 2017City Manager Middletown

Building continues to be strong in the city. The Building Inspection Division processed 325 permits during the first quarter representing $47,278,732 in new construction in the city.

COMMENT: Did each permit have an average value of $145,473.02?   Or was one permit for $47 million and the rest averaged $860.28?

Please tell us where the multimillion dollar new constructions are located that are in the first quarter of 2017.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: May 17 2017 at 9:41pm
Mr Adkins has revisited an item (on his City Manager’s Blog/CityofMiddletown.org) concerning the BUTLER COUNTY Small Business Development Center (SBCD). The original post is dated March 24, 2017.   An excerpt in new post, dated May 8, 2017, titled Economic Development Week says virtually the same thing as the old one:

“On a local scale, Middletown has seen over 20 new small businesses open in the heart of Downtown Middletown, bringing locally-made products and services right to your backyard. Not only are your local small businesses great, they’re backed by the best Small Business Development Center in the country: Middletown’s Small Business Development Center was recently named the Best SBDC of 2017, making it the first Ohio SBDC to win the national award.”

The original post had 2 comments following it...but the second comment made by whistlersmom has been edited out… because it was critical and uncomplimentary. I copied the entire post and the comments which include a reply by Adkins and posted it here just a few posts previous to this. Check it out!

Both of Adkins’ posts leave the reader with the FALSE impression that the award and all accolades belong mainly to Middletown. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again the award was NOT given to the MIDDLETOWN SBDC, but to BUTLER COUNTY SBDC in Hamilton where Director David Riggs has his office. There is a very slim chance that Riggs will be in the “Middletown office.” Middletown IS a part of Butler County SBCD, but Hamilton is where the MAJORITY of small businesses are starting up and beginning to thrive, NOT Middletown. Adkins made no answer when asked on his first post to enumerate the successful small business start-ups still in operation in Middletown and what percentage they were of the total in Butler County.   Guess why!!!!

It’s shameful that Mr. Adkins is allowed to “thrive” on half truths and innuendo. The unvarnished truth needs to be told but it’s hard to find the truth among so many years of REPEATED propaganda. Adkins is living vicariously thru others who are doing the real work. Middletown is reaping the chaff and none of the wheat.

And as Mr. Adkins has suggested, I do think about Middletown’s economic predicament on a daily basis with great sadness.

As to the rest of Adkins “points” he tried to make on the Economic Development post on his blog:

1.) The small businesses downtown have provided lower paying entry level jobs, very little gain in income tax for the city.

2.) AK Steel Research and Innovation Center moved from the “downtown” area to the Eastend and received an extended tax abatement on the property. Because it is Warren County and in Franklin City School District, Middletown might have to pay to Franklin Schools the amount they would have received in property taxes from AK.

3.) NTE Energy Power Plant brings more pollution to Middletown. We had no power plants here previous to them, so we are ADDING new pollution. We are just lucky they didn’t decide to build a coal fired power plant. We already have SunCoke, a high polluter. And AK Steel, too. It’s a shame we can’t get nice clean jobs like AK Headquarters.

4.) Has anyone seen activity at Goetz Tower’s apartment construction?






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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke



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