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Letters to the Editor
Tax abatement sets bad precedent
Upon reading the article in the May 18 Eastside Messenger, I was surprised and shocked to see that the city was going to consider a 15-year 100-percent tax abatement for the Gateway project to help the developer sell the unsold units.
This property already receives an abatement of 50-percent for 15 years. I think a 100-percent abatement in not necessary and it sets a bad precedent.
There are several reasons why I believe this is bad business for the city.
First, the developer now believes that he needs the additional 50-percent abatement to sell the units. This equates on average to $500 per month on average per unit. I really don’t believe that $500 is not going to make a difference to someone that is buying a condo where the mortgage payments and condo fees will be close to $5,000 per month.
The reason the condos are not selling is because the economy is bad, and people are not buying houses. These condos will eventually sell. If the developer cannot sell them for the current asking price, they will have to do what everyone else in the city that is trying to sell a house will have to do, lower the price. Yes, this will hurt the developer’s bottom line, but it does not hurt the taxpayers of Bexley. The developer himself stated that his asking price for the condos is almost twice the square foot price of the average Bexley home sale.
Second, this sets a bad precedent to abate taxes on an existing structure. What is going to prevent any business in Bexley from coming to the city for an abatement, because their current business model is not working? And in the future, what if a developer purchases a vacant building on Main Street and is going to raze the building for redevelopment? I am sure that they will be coming to council hands out requesting that their property tax be abated.
The city is giving away everything that sets the precedent for future deals, and will not give the city any room to negotiate. The next “great project” will be looking for the same if not more.
Third, the conversion of this from an existing commercial CRA to a residential CRA removes any approval power from the school district. A commercial CRA for more than a 50-percent abatement must be approved by the local school board. By converting this to a residential CRA, the city no longer needs any school district approval.
Finally, this change is not site specific, it is district specific. Any future residential development that is in the same district (South Gateway), will also receive the same 100-percent abatement.
Bexley is currently in desperate need of many updates to its infrastructure, parks and recreation facilities. This abatement equates to approximately $3 million in tax loss. Just think of the benefit $3 million would be toward maintenance on Jeffrey Mansion, the police station or a new service garage.
I hope that any citizens that believe this “bailout” is wrong will show up at upcoming meetings to voice opposition. I cannot find any solid reason to support this measure, and I wait to hear council justify this action.
Thank you for support
It has been my honor to serve for the past three years as president of the Pickerington Lions Club. As my term ends, I want to thank the residents of Pickerington and Violet Township for your support.
Our club is a member of Lions International, the largest service organization in the world. Our main focus is to find a cure for the causes of blindness and to alleviate the plight of the sight-impaired.
Locally, over the past year, our club has donated thousands of dollars to charitable and civic causes. We’ve recycled hundreds of used eyeglasses for the poor, we paid for eye exams for those who couldn’t afford them; we provided meals and gifts to needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas; we sponsor Boy Scout Troop 256. Of course, we provide Pickerington’s Labor Day parade and fish fry.
In short, we are committed to serving our community and our fellow man. Recently, we were presented with several awards at our District Convention, including being named Club of the Year. I thank all our members for their hard work.
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