By Linda Dillman
The Canal Winchester City Council vacancy left in the wake of the departure of Ashley Ward following the June 20 meeting was filled by council after a short application process and more than two and a half hours interviewing 11 candidates.
On July 5, Steve Buskirk was unanimously approved by council to fill the empty council seat. His term runs through Dec. 31, 2023.
In his application, Buskirk wrote, “I would like to serve the community where I live, raised my children and where am actively involved. I hope to use my skills, education, and 29 years of experience at the Franklin County Engineer’s Office overseeing utilities and private development to help make decisions for our community and residents related to smart growth, and sustainable development.”
Interviews were kept to seven minutes per candidate and each was asked the same questions: “As a member of council, you will find yourself at times having a differing opinion from the opinions of your constituents and/or fellow council members. Tell us about a time that you had to compromise on something. What was your approach? And how did you assure that all viewpoints were received and respected? How do you feel about the state of development in Canal Winchester with respect to the encroachment of the city of Columbus? And, is it your opinion that this body took away a ‘democratic right’ of residents by passing emergency legislation to save the Schacht property from being de-annexed from the city? What are the main functions and responsibilities of local government? And, how would you describe the role and responsibilities of a city councilmember?”
Prior to adjourning to the series of closed interviews, council approved Ward’s June 21 letter of resignation.
Other CW Council news
•Council held the first of three readings of a pair of ordinances entering into a community reinvestment area (CRA) agreement with Northpoint Development.
According to Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire, the agreements propose compensating the Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison school districts by paying 20 cents per square foot of developed space annually in lieu of taxes.
The pair of proposed warehouses are 528,000 square feet and 540,000 square feet and the property is bisected by both school districts.
“We can monitor the payments through the tax incentive review process,” said Haire. “This also proposes sharing 25 percent of income taxes with the school districts.”
Canal Winchester Schools would receive 100 percent of the 25 percent income tax revenue from the west building and Groveport Madison Schools would receive 66 percent of the east building revenue.
“They’re (Groveport Madison) only 52 percent of that building and 12 percent of the other building,” said Haire, who estimated tax revenue would generate a minimum of $261,524 for Canal Winchester schools and $130,289 for Groveport Madison.
“Also included is a community benefit agreement that would include a $750,000 payment (per building) to the city of Canal Winchester for a total of $1.5 million,” said Haire.
•Council is on a summer hiatus for the remainder of July.Its next regular meeting is Aug. 1.