Obetz appropriations, development, and Independence Day news

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By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

Obetz City Council approved making changes to the city’s 2022 appropriations.

At council’s June 13 meeting, Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson said these changes are largely due to the increased cost of gasoline.

“Gasoline has doubled and tripled in price, which we did not expect at the beginning of the year when we started to drive cruisers and vehicles. We’ve run out of gas money and a lot of funds,” said Davisson.

Another line item expense was $2,500 for Iron Mountain storage fees.

“That’s where we store some of our public records when they get archived,” said Davisson.
Another item is a reduction of $1,200 to match up with actual expenditures. Another is a debt service pay out of $690,000, which is what happens when a TIF (tax increment financing) generates some money. The Toy Road TIF district infrastructure is funded by a developer with a letter of credit.

“In other words, they backed the bonds on our infrastructure approval by the letter of credit,” said Davisson. “And the deal is that as that TIF starts making money, they can recover that money that they paid over the years. And this year, that number is $690,000.”

There is also an addition of $505,000 in the natural gas fund.

“Again, we have to buy more natural gas at higher prices, both for resale and for the use of the city properties,” said Davisson. “I hope that’s enough, but you know, if gas goes to 10 bucks a gallon, we’ll run out of that pretty quickly, too. So we’re doing what we can to conserve and keep operations going in what’s turned into a very dangerous economy. So we’re keeping an eye on that to see how it goes.”

TIFS and Buckstone development
There was also an emergency reading on an ordinance that creates two TIF districts within the city.

Davisson explained, “The TIF districts are part of the overall larger project. There is a tax increment financing district. It is a way for us to redirect tax monies that would usually go to other political subdivisions (back) to the city for the purpose of constructing the infrastructure related to the Buckstone development.”

It had been tabled in order for it to be enacted at the right time to create a New Community Authority of the three farms that had been sold for development – Younkin, Warner, and Wilburn farms.

Obetz Law Director Eugene Hollins explained in previous meetings that the laws creating a New Community Authority had to be passed in a certain order, and Obetz is close to passing all of them to create the Buckstone development.

Emergency passage of legislation means the law will go into effect immediately, rather than waiting 30 days for it to go into effect.

Resident Andy Borders asked, “I read that Franklin county is not really behind this. What does that do to the structure of the payments?”

Davisson responded, “It does nothing. We planned for the county to want its social services money, which is exactly what they did. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re against the project. We had a meeting with them to discuss the project generally, which they seem to favor. So we weren’t surprised by their objection.”

New personal fireworks law
Ohio’s new personal fireworks law was on the agenda, but Hollins said council would discuss it at its June 27.

Effective July 3, Ohioans can legally set off consumer-grade fireworks on the following days: July 3, 4, and 5, including the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays immediately preceding and following; Labor Day weekend; Diwali; New Year’s Eve; New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; and Juneteenth.

According to the approved House Bill 172, a municipality can put additional restrictions on dates and times fireworks can be discharged or opt-out of the law altogether.

By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

Obetz City Council held a special meeting June 16, for the second reading on legislation pertaining to a New Community Authority related to the Buckstone project.

“We’ve talked about this a number of times,” said Obetz Administrator Rod Davisson. “This is the next step in the evolution of creating a New Community Authority related to the Buckstone project. A New Community Authority is an overlay that allows you to accumulate redirected taxes that would have gone to other political subdivisions, and normally has the power to create bonds, to buy a property, and do a number of things. Ultimately, that is the way to make a new development work, as opposed to just building straight residential houses, which ultimately are a negative drain on an economy.”

Resident Jennifer Kyre asked, “Why did we have to call a special meeting to pass this ordinance when we just had a council meeting? Did something occur that this needed to happen today?”

Obetz Law Director Eugene Hollins explained, “There are three signatures on the petition that they just said we’ve received. And it’s sufficient. For the third signature, the family needed to meet Tuesday. They did meet Tuesday. They consented it to it. We got their signed documents today. And in anticipation of that, we’d set this special meeting for today.

The reason for not just pushing it to the next regular meeting is once we receive that, we set a public hearing. We need to public notice that public hearing to occur for three weeks. And it has to be between 30 and 45 days, so that if we wanted to have it at the second meeting in July, we had to get this meeting scheduled. So it’s a great question, but it’s a bunch of legalities and statutory things.”

The public hearing for this ordinance will be at the regular council meeting on July 25 at 6 p.m.

No public comments were accepted at the meeting that weren’t related to the one agenda item.

Davisson explained, “The rules of Ohio all say that when you have this meeting, you have to talk about the ordinance that is the subject of the special meeting.”

Davisson said that if citizens want to discus other things, they’re “just a week early and can come to the next meeting, which is a general council meeting.” Community members can then present anything they want to discuss.

The next city council meeting is June 27 at 6 p.m. at 4175 Alum Creek Drive.

By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

The Obetz Famous Fortress Fireworks celebration on July 1 begins at 6 p.m. with fireworks at 9:50 p.m. at The Fortress and Memorial Park, 2050 Recreation Trail, Obetz.

Fireworks will be fired off just north of the Memorial Park pond. This is a free event.

Classic rock band TheJack Columbus will provide entertainment in the courtyard. There will be inflatables and a big swing on the turf. A bring-your-own watergun area for kids to play will be available.

Memorial Park will also be set up for those who want to tailgate. Food trucks will include: Penn Station (in the concession stand), Schmidt’s Sausage Truck, Tortilla Street Food, Pitabilities, and Chilljoy Frozen Eatery

Bring your blankets and have a picnic!

Items prohibited inside Fortress Obetz for this event include: sparklers, smoke bombs, flares, personal fireworks, etc. You will be cited by police if you use these anywhere inside the Fortress; folding/camping chairs; alcohol (available for purchase inside); coolers; glass containers of any kind; pets or animals (with exception of service animals); backpacks; bags bigger that 6”x8”x10”; laser pointers; sticks or poles of any kind; any signs that can obstruct the views of others; and any other items that police, security, or event staff deem to be dangerous or inappropriate.

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