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Oct 09

The Tuesday Top 5: October 9, 2018

Posted on October 9, 2018 at 2:28 PM by Laura Oldham

Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.

1. City/School Compensation Agreement  

The tremendous success of the Grandview Yard redevelopment in the last nine years and the opportunity to attract more commercial and residential projects south of Goodale Boulevard have prompted the City and the Grandview Heights City School District to discuss improving the financial structure of this agreement.

The original school compensation agreement was signed in 2009, when the City and School were both in difficult financial situations and the economy for the country and our area was not strong. We both had successfully passed ballot issues a couple of years earlier, but the loss of Big Bear, our biggest employer at the time, was still impacting us. The School District’s first concern was not to lose additional property tax collection from the County even as the property values in the area, today known as the Grandview Yard, were being devalued. As you may be aware, the City’s major source of revenue is income tax and the District’s is the taxation of real property. The school board negotiated a compensation agreement with the City and developer that first made them whole, with no further reduction in property taxes and, secondly, the agreement allowed the district to receive a percentage of the additional property tax that was generated through the real property improvements.

At the time, the project was proposed to be about one-third retail with office, a hotel and residential covering the remaining area. Since the residential was the area that would potentially impact the school, the school board negotiated a sliding scale where it would receive a higher percent of property tax for the more residential units built. Of course, 2008 through 2010 marked difficult economic times for our nation and our area. As a result, the face of retail also changed during this time period and the retail was not constructed. With retail not being viable, the project was not generating enough TIF money to cover the investment in infrastructure. For the most part over the next few years, the school was the only party receiving any kind of property tax money from the development. This was because the school had negotiated that they would be first in line to receive money, even ahead of the bondholder.

In 2014, the city had the opportunity to bring a significant number of Nationwide Insurance jobs to Grandview Heights. The renegotiations between the developer and the city changed the project from a retail mixed use to more of an office and residential project. The city pledged a higher percent of income tax for the payment of bonds. The result is today we have around 4,000 Nationwide Insurance jobs and a total of 5,500 jobs in the Grandview Heights portion of the Yard.

As city leaders, it is our responsibility to look at the overall health, safety, affordability and livability of our community. The Yard development, which has performed well beyond our 2009 expectations, along with strong investment in our other commercial areas and in our residential housing – has afforded City and District leaders to recognize an opportunity to look at a renegotiation of the school compensation agreement and bring more money forward to help our community now instead of 20 years from now, when the bonds are paid off. The new agreement under discussion would give tens of millions of additional dollars to the schools over current projections through a change in the amount going to pay bonds that essentially extends the payoff. After much consideration by the school board members and the administration, with the support of the majority of city council, we believe this is a win-win for our community.

The most asked questions:

Question 1: Is the change in the school compensation agreement dependent on Issue 6 passing?
No, it’s the success of the Grandview Yard project that positions us to renegotiate the agreement at this time.

Question 2: Is approval of the South of Goodale rezoning part of the negotiations?
Yes. In exchange for agreeing to a short-term extension of the bond payoff and the ability to make additional improvements to the street grid south of Goodale, the bondholder asks that the City support the expansion of the Yard zoning provisions to the area south of Goodale. The Administration supports the expansion. The expansion would clean up the brownfields in that area (including a scrapyard), continue the existing street grid south of Goodale to help reduce traffic on Goodale and support a coordinated development between the two developers that are looking to build projects in that area.

Question 3: How additional money will it mean to the school?
There are some initial estimates using various assumptions, but I do not want to speculate until we have an agreement. I believe we are close. It should be recognized that until recently the City and School have estimated only the dollars coming to the school of what is actually built. We both are fiscally conservative. Those figures indicated that the school would receive about $60 million over the next 20 years. For a long time, this was the figured used. We now have more information on what is being proposed in the current project, which would bring an estimated additional $18 million, or $78 million total to the school. Add to this the development to the south of Goodale and modified school compensation agreement and that figure could almost double.


2. Charter proposals on the ballot

City residents will decide a few significant local issues when they go to the ballot box on November 6. One important topic voters are asked to consider and support includes recommendations to update the City Charter. The City Charter is the framework on how city government works, much as the way the U.S. Constitution directs the function and procedures of the federal government.

City residents will receive details of the changes in the mail. The proposed changes were made by ten residents who served as the Charter Review Commission. City Council voted to put the following recommendations on the November 6 ballot. Those changes include:

* Extending the number of days in which to submit ballots issues to the Franklin County Board of Elections, to comply with state laws governing early-voting requirements;

* Clarifying the powers and duties of an acting mayor when the mayor is temporarily unable to perform executive duties;

* Making the Charter more contemporary by recognizing notices on the city’s website as another venue to post notifications of public meetings;

* Referring to department directors and public officials with consistent position titles;

* Clarifying the procedure for future amendments to the Charter; and

* Renumbering and reordering sections of the Charter to keep related subjects together as well as making minor technical, typographical, and grammatical changes.

The City Administration and Council urge a “Yes” vote on Issue 30 in this off-year election.


3. The 40th annual Great Pumpkin Run  

Tie your shoes and get registered for the running of the Great Pumpkin Run at 9 a.m. on October 27. Pre-registration costs $20, a price available until October 24 for mail-ins and noon October 26t for walk-ins. The first 500 registrants will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt. Race day registration will be held in the Middle School Gym from 7:30-8:30am. The Tiny Tot Pumpkin Trot is the same day, for children 3-6 years old, beginning at 8:30am. There is no fee for the Tiny Tot run, but registration is required. Runners for the Great Pumpkin Run can also register online at either the city’s website, www.grandviewheights.org or at www.speedy-feet.com.


4. Grandview Crossing

The Grandview Crossing mixed-use project at Dublin Road and Grandview Avenue has reached a milestone. City Council on October 1 held the first reading on the proposed zoning change of the Grandview Heights’ portion of the project. The request is to change the current Industrial M-1 and Community Commercial C-2 Zoning to Planned Unit Development District PUD. Urban developer Wagenbrenner Development has worked on the proposed 56-acre mixed use project at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Route 33 for several years to get it ready for new development. Approximately 15.9 acres are in the City of Grandview Heights while the remainder of the project is in Columbus.

The Planning Commission approved the preliminary development plan on March 21 and recommended Council support the rezoning. I will continue to provide updates on this project as progress warrants.


5. Kidz Home Alone

Are you ready to educate your child about the responsibilities of being home alone? The City’s Park and Recreation Department will sponsor a course on October 9th and again on October 16th to help to every student to feel more comfortable while they find themselves home alone. This interactive course teaches topics such as First Aid; self-Heimlich maneuver; what constitutes a legitimate reason to call 911; fire escape plans; microwave safety; and how to solve problems outside of ordinary situations. A parent guide is included in the student manual which provides helpful discussion points between parent and child. Parents do not need to attend the class. For more information, contact the Grandview Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

 
Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit GrandviewHeights.org.

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