MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING
MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL
HELD, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2013 

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND B This meeting was called by the Mayor to discuss and pass Ordinance N0. 163 – 2013. 

1.  ROLL CALL

Roll call for the evening found the following Council Members present:  Milan Chovan, Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly, Nancy Halter. Quenessa Hampton, Ed Lewis, Paul Manson, Donnie Peters and Andrea Scassa

Thus giving a roll call vote of 8 present.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Thank you, Mr. Peters, I need a motion to excuse Councilman Slagle.

COUNCILMAN PETERS – I’d like to make a motion that we excuse Councilman Slagle, seconded by Councilman Manson.

Roll call vote of 7 yes, 1 no to excuse Councilman Slagle.  Peters voted no.

ORDINANCE NO. 163 - 2013                    BY:   COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Declaring improvements to certain real property located within the City of Massillon, Ohio, to be a public purpose, describing the public infrastructure improvements to be made to directly benefit that real property, requiring the owner of the improvements on that real property to make service payments in lieu of taxes, and establishing a municipal public improvement tax increment equivalent fund for the deposit of such service payments, all pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Sections 5709.40, 5709.42 and 5709.43, and declaring an emergency.

 

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilman Manson?

COUNCILMAN MANSON – Yes, thank you, Mr. President.  I’m going to I intend to give this second reading but I just want to talk about it a little bit so this is something that I’ve talked with a couple of you about it.  This is something that I believe should have come to Community Development right from the very beginning.  And I made a comment a couple weeks ago that I didn’t like the way the council meeting went and it was because of confusion part of it was the computers but part of it was the timeless that we’re getting this stuff.  We’re being asked to act on a $10 million dollar thing probably right here with next to nothing as far as information.  The way this thing went down it was presented to Donnie he got his first copy of it handed to him here the night that he put it brought it out at committee meeting.  He didn’t even see it on the computer I saw it on the computer because we got it earlier in the day.  But I told him from the beginning I thought that this things should have been in Community Development.  So you know I know some of you think that I don’t like the mayor or whatever and that’s part of what I maybe why I act the way I do but I just believe this is way out of line.  It’s a $10 million dollar project we could have acted anytime in the last probably nine months and here we are we’re going to go to the last two days of the year.  And if we mess up it’ll be just like what we did at Menards.  We missed the date at Menards and it cost us a lot of money as far as development money with TIFs.  So that really does bother me.  But having said that I’ve talked with the county auditor’s office and if we want to take advantage of this we do need to act on it before the end of the year.  It’s that simple.  So if there’s any questions you have I suggest between now and Monday start asking them and try to get familiar Monday would be third reading on this it would only take a 5/4 vote and you know before we’re done here I’m going to be proposing that we have a special meeting on Monday.  We already have one special meeting for Monday I want to have a second one and to deal with this.  But the way the law is and Mr. Herncane if you hear me say anything wrong that you want to correct feel free.  If we wait to pass this into January or February the county will look at how that property was developed on January 1st of 2014.  And there are three or four buildings there, there’s multiple silos, a lot of infrastructure work has already been done.  If we pass it before the end of the year it will be handled as of January 1st of 2013 and at that time it was still farm land and in the process of being purchased by Baker Hughes but it was under developed at the time.  So what we’re looking at is one if you don’t want to do it you could always vote yes but personally I strongly believe in TIF’s and it goes back a long time and I’m not going to change my mind.  I have the article here from December 15th in the Repository if you guys want to get it and read it Green has like 28 of them, there’s probably some communities that have 100’s of them.  This will not take a dime away from anybody as of now as far as museum, library, MRDD, anything, schools or anything.  This is called a non-school TIF the schools are not included in this TIF.  Everything that tax wise would have come to us as a city will go into the TIF.  Everything tax wise that would have come to the museum or the library or like MRDD will go into the TIF.  The school is not a part of this so they will still continue to get their funding exactly as they, they will even get the improvements on it.  And they’re the biggest they’re by far the biggest interest in all of this.  So I’ll try to answer anything you want to ask you can call the county auditor and talk to them over there, Mr. Herncane is here.  Mr. Herncane did not have this assigned to him this was assigned through finance.  That was wrong.  It should have been coming through Community Development for a long and we should have known this.  That’s all I really want to say right now.  I’ll just try to answer questions and…

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilman Lewis, do you have a question?

COUNCILMAN LEWIS – The only comment I want to make I agree with your sentiment about how quickly this is going it is kind of a shame we’ve had to have all of these special meetings and particular this is a big deal.  Here we are on a time crunch and I guess I don’t want to start a cat fight but I have to say I can’t keep my mouth shut on this but here we are as a council we’re being compelled to come to a special meeting called by the mayor I don’t know about what you guys have been doing but I was yanked away from a family event for the holidays and then the mayor herself can’t even show up to her own meeting that she called to compel all of us to go to.  So I kind of find that somewhat insulting or disrespectful to this body.  I do appreciate the representative Mr. Herncane being here though.  Further the other thing that is kind of nagging me and this is another can of worms that we don’t need to discuss tonight maybe it would be a good time to discuss it on Monday is that we’ve all been waiting for performance audits for over two months now and there’s been no rush on that but now all of sudden a TIF comes around and we have to take time out of our schedules to make sure we have special meetings when all we want is a little bit of paperwork about this performance audit that’s been done forever.  So I just I just want to make sure that moving forward we start to demand any quality in the rushing of items and that pathway is equally quick on both sides.  That we’re getting stuff as fast as they’re expecting us to do stuff. 

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilman Chovan?

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Thank you.  I have some questions and I spoke with Paul today I spoke with Nancy today and I asked him to give this second reading because the TIFs are new to me.  I mean I’ve read about them I know what the principles is but there’s a lot of information I don’t have and being asked to make a vote tonight to pass something like this without a chance to discuss this more is its I don’t feel comfortable making the decisions.  So if everybody would have said we’re going to move this forward for a vote tonight and everybody was in favor I would have had to vote no on the TIF simply because I have too many unanswered questions.  Maybe when I get the answers I would vote yes I mean I understand it’s a valuable municipal financing vehicle I’m not so sure that’s exactly I’m not so sure that in the past we haven’t left these things so loosey goosey in the wording that we’ve taken money that should go for the TIF district and used it outside that district.  And so I’m not sure I like the language in here I’m not sure that things shouldn’t be tightened up a little more for me.  You know lets look at valuation you said something a about $10 million dollars what was what was that property valued at January 1, 2013 and what’s it valued at now.  I mean do we even know what that we have to do this supposedly by the end of this year otherwise we’re going to lose the increment that has occurred from the increase of the value from this year.  It would start January 1 of next year if we pass it in 2014.  Do we even know what that valuation is?  I don’t know I have no idea what that property cost when Baker Hughes bought it or what the tax value was then versus what it is right now.  I have no clue what we’re talking about here.  So you know to vote on something like this without even knowing dollars that are involved I think is ridiculous.  And I can’t do it.  I will call Jon Oates tomorrow I mean I’m going to call the county auditor’s office and try to get a feel for some of this stuff so that if this comes up Monday I’ll I’ll feel better about voting one way or another.  At least it will be an informed vote instead of just somebody saying well we have to do this.  So I mean I thank you for giving this second reading you know to give me some time to take a look at this thing for myself.  Maybe I’m the only one if so I apologize for holding you all up on this.  But that’s just how I felt.  Thank you.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilwoman Cunningham-Hedderly?

COUNCILWOMAN CUNNINGHAM-HEDDERLY – Would Mr. Herncane have an answer to that?

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – I don’t know the valuation?  The current increment?

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Of its valued a year ago beginning of this year?

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Yeah.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – I don’t have that I mean if you look at the county auditor’s website I think they’ll value vacant land at X.  I don’t think they did any recent appraisals this year they may have I’m not sure.  But I think whatever their current value is would be the value at the beginning of the year of what the vacant parcels were.  I understand that Baker Hughes has put probably at least $10 million dollars of $14 or $15 million dollars which is going to make the whole project in so far this year.  Now you know whatever the county whatever the county auditor appraisals those improvements at will certainly be what they use to determine you know the taxes on.  But right now the three parcels that are involved are all vacant I would say that the most current assessment or appraisal for the Stark County Auditor would be on their website.  Then you can add theorically you know $10 million dollars worth of improvements I’m not you know but that’s…

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – If in fact that’s what the auditor would…

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – That’s mathematical lets assume they appraise at the same thing then you can extrapelate from there.

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Yeah, all I’m saying is if this is a $10 million dollar we’re talking about a $10 million dollar in my mind it’s a $10 million dollar increment but it might not be.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Well its…

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – If the property was $3 million originally and they valued it at $8 million now you know we’re talking somewhat less I’m just trying to quantify it. 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Well and that’s why you know this is a little different than some of the other tax exemption or abatement things that the city passes.  But they’re all based on kind of the same theory if a company puts in $10 million dollars worth of investment in building on a piece of property the county auditor may not appraise it at every dime they’ve ever spent.  So that’s…

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Yeah, do we have I mean a lot of the improvements that will be made infrastructure improvements will open a lot more of that land down there for development you know from other companies that might come in.  Are we talking to any other companies right now that would use that property down there if we make these improvements.  Because as far as I’m concerned Baker Hughes is there already so and a TIF from my understanding is if that’s the only way a company is going to come in is to make the deal to do these improvements.  If I’m miss understanding that then you understand why I need to delay.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Well and that’s why this is a little different than some of the other projects.  If we did an enterprise zone agreement or a CRA agreement or things like that an agreement you know council has to approve it and the agreement has to be signed before shovel hits the dirt.  In something like this we’ve included two parcels to the east a parcel owned by Miller Land and a parcel owned by Massillon Development Foundation.  For the sole purpose of we know and to my knowledge we became aware that there was going to be a need for a road extension Millinium extended to the north to 30.  We included the other two parcels in the TIF ordinance because once that road is financed and put in its going to make those properties more valuable as well.  Now I personally have not had any conversation with anyone interested in those parcels yet.  But I think that by using the payment the TIF payments to complete the road is certainly going to indirectly benefit those two parcels which will make them more marketable.  And I believe also that the ordinance was written the way it was to give some leeway in how we can use those TIF dollars.  I think that its probably not as tight as some of the other TIF ordinances were that say it has to be spent in this area for this and that.  I think it was left intentionally vague from that respect so whatever dollars would be in the TIF account or the TIF fund would be able to be used for some other things around the area.

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – In our annual budgeting do we know what TIF dollars are in there and do we know what they are being used for?

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – I think if you looked I believe that if you look at the statement of accounts that the auditor has you can see the dollar amount that’s in every TIF fund.  I think that’s pretty easily available.

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – But I mean do we know what they are being spent for and…

COUNCILMAN MANSON – We make the determination.

COUNCILMAN PETERS – Yeah we make the determination it has to come to council before you can spend any TIF money.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Certainly we have 10 tax increment financings we have 10 TIF projects currently.  You could look at any of those 10 accounts and find out what dollar amount is in there that could be spent on whatever improvements were stated in the ordinance.  I have you know I could go back and look at the files on each one of them and they will tell you in the ordinance what you can and can not spend the money on.  Now a lot of it is in the revised code its in the revised code as a big section of what you can spend the money on.  I’m not sure that’s all inclusive but it does state some specific things you can spend it on but the specific ordinance tells you what you’re allowed to use those dollars for. 

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Well at our last meeting the mayor said something about we could end up buying police cruisers and fire trucks with this money and I think that’s a stretch.  I mean that’s what I mean about yes I mean okay so maybe if we had another cruiser we could patrol you know more down there.  Maybe if we had another truck at Station 4 it would be closer but I’m thinking what this is being used for is we don’t have enough money to run the city any other way so we’re going to do this and take money to use in this loosey goosey wording to fund the operation of the city rather than specific projects. 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – I think the revised code and I don’t have the section with me I think the revised code does state you can spend on police and fire equipment in certain TIFs.  Now there’s different rules for school, non-school different percentages and things I believe that’s stated in the revised code.

COUNCILMAN CHOVAN – Yeah, I think one of the sections in here refers to improving public safety and again I mean I apologize for my ignorance on this.  But these are questions I have and why there’s no way I could have voted tonight.  So I’ve got a few days I guess to come up with these answers.  Thank you.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilwoman Scassa.

COUNCILWOMAN SCASSA – Thank you, I guess maybe Ted can answer this, this is a 30 year TIF?

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Correct.

COUNCILWOMAN SCASSA – Correct, okay, is that how long our other TIFs were or is that the general term?

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – I think all of them are. 

COUNCILWOMAN SCASSA – That was my question it just seemed like a long time to me but I wasn’t sure what our others were. 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – It’s a long time to you because you’re young.

COUNCILWOMAN SCASSA – Thanks.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilman Manson.

COUNCILMAN MANSON – Some of these TIFs I we have to check that list I got a list from the county auditor and I don’t think they had 10 on it.  So we need to check it and make sure what we have here because there were a few when we were transitioning from mayor to mayor and I just want to make sure they didn’t get skipped.  But you know this is not something we’re doing this is something the state has given cities the and even you know even its not just cities I think even there’s some other entities that townships and stuff I think can even do TIFs and stuff like that.  But I’m not sure all I know is they’ve given this to the city its an economic development tool to try to rebuild the infrastructure of Ohio.  You know we have a republican governor I always use the example Columbus just did a huge TIF 700 and some acres well they didn’t just do it it was a couple of years ago now.  Columbus is a democratic city the last I know of Coleman was a democratic mayor down there and stuff you know.  This is about development and I think it’s a wise decision but I don’t know it took so long to get to this point.  But we really need to to ask the questions and I’m asking that you support it.  They were more narrow you take what we have at Market Place there was a huge amount of infrastructure work that had to be done they put a detention pond in that was probably 4 times bigger than the one that was there when that Grants was down in there and all that stuff.  I forget who all was down in there.  They had to extend that big ramp that goes down in the center they extended it like another 150 feet down in and you know they had to do all that they completely redid the storm water system for that.  But that was with bonds that the TIFs are repaying.  Correct?

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR HERNCANE – Correct.

COUNCILMAN MANSON – So that’s you know that was a project that we were focused on and that development needed a lot of it and that’s the way that was done.  These are more general we have you know different ones around you know we did on Richville Drive and you know myself I think we should TIF everything we can possibly TIF.  We have an office building that’s going to be getting built down here you know some time in the spring down here behind where the eagles and car wash we should be TIFing those.  But those are little more general and I don’t necessarily agree with you in that they I don’t see a problem with taking some of this money and using it in other areas.  But my thing is to make clear we’re not hurting any of these entities.  They will continue to get exactly what they’re getting whatever they were getting last year they’re going to get it again this year.  In through development and stuff you know this develops I believe you know I’ still this rising tide lifts all ships and some point in time if MRDD or the library or the museum decide they need more money let them come and ask us for support to put something on the ballot.  We’ve done it before we’ve passed stuff for the museum on a renewal and they asked for some more millage and we approved that and did that.  I think that’s fine but we need to worry about the infrastructure and the development of the city and this is how its done.  The newspaper article on the 15th like I said I believe Green has 28 of them now or something like that.  Some of them this one made a big deal because they TIF’ed this one had to do with the Hartville School System I think or the Lake School System and up in that area and the schools actaully gave up 75% of their tax revenue to go into this TIF.  But they’re working on State Route 619 that goes right in front in these schools and you know the trouble you’ve been I’m sure you’ve been hearing about that.  So that’s the way these can work and I’m 100% against I mean for this I want to really bring it home to bring it in Monday night if we can and hopefully everyone will ask the questions vote your conscious.  But you know I’ve been on enough committees, commissions, councils, executive boards and stuff like that to know nobody likes to make big decisions without information.  And I don’t either and I don’t think its right the way we’re getting this information. But I do think this we do need to take care of this though next week.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Councilwoman Halter.

COUNCILWOMAN HALTER – Thank you, Mr. President, I just want to mention that having worked at the Chamber and worked with Massillon Development Foundation for however many years it was we worked hand in hand with the mayor with Mayor Cicchinelli on many, many of these projects.  And so I know how important they are especially to the Massillon Development Foundation.  I will be supporting it.

COUNCILMAN MANSON – So, second reading.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Okay, just to provide council members a little information we do have 10 TIF’s I just got that off a website out of Columbus.  Case Farms, Meadows Plaza, Deville Development, Faircrest Properties, Fresh Mark, the Inn at University Village, Lincoln Centre III, Massillon Area Credit Union, Menards and Shearers.  So those are the 10. 

COUNCILMAN PETERS – I probably voted for 5 of them at least maybe 6.

COUNCILMAN MANSON – About the only one you didn’t vote on was Market Place and maybe Meadows you probably voted on all the rest.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT TOWNSEND – Alright, Councilman Manson stated second reading   That concludes our special meeting.

18.  ADJOURNMENT

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MARY BETH BAILEY, CLERK,

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TONY M. TOWNSEND, PRESIDENT

 

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