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Oct 2011     Homepage

Will your water bill go up soon?


Probably YES, if you don't tell your city council to spend TIF dollars on what TIF dollars are meant.  

Update:  28 Nov 11  Went to the administration committee meeting tonight and during the discussion the City Finance director told us the sewer fund has over $7 million in it.  I'm not sure how much is used during normal operations but he clearly gives the impression there is plenty in this fund so that the Shull Road lift station expenditure will not stress the fund.  I'm not sure why the city has been letting this station overflow for the last 5 years if they had all this money in reserve, but if they do then we shouldn't have to worry about our water bill going up.  In fact, why isn't it going down?

Update: 2 Dec 11 see my write-up about the City Fund Report to see that I was way off and there is a huge amount of money within the sewer fund.


Part of the infrastructure improvements that needed to be done in conjunction with the Aquatic Center was an upgrade to the Shull Road sewer lift station.  Instead of using TIF dollars for this part of the project council decided to raid the sewer reserve fund.  This was a marginal decision when the cost of the project was suppose to be $400,000 and all the TIF funds were needed for the first phase of the Aquatic Center.  Since then the price of the project has gone up to $700,000 so not only is the sewer reserve fund exhausted council is talking about borrowing money to fund the sewer upgrade.  At the same time council has determined they have an abundance of TIF money and started to fund other parts of the recreation complex and buy land for The Heights Development project.  It is up to you to tell council you want them to use the TIF money to pay for the sewer project and help protect against higher water and sewer bills. 


Update: CANCELED  On Nov 2nd the administration committee meets 5:30 pm at city hall.  CNX One of the agenda items is the Shull Rd lift station.  This is an open meeting.  Caveat: There is no telling from the agenda item what about the lift station will be discussed - I've made the mistake before of guessing one thing and it turning out to be something totally different.  CANCELED Interesting I just noticed that there will be a special council meeting Nov 2nd as well. CNX


Council Member contact information 

Caveat - if you think you can wait until I get into council remember these three things:

1. Council is spending your money now.   

2. The winner of the election doesn't take office until Jan

3.  I may not get elected

Conclusion - talk to your council member now.


  Abundance of TIF Money - Explanation

The original budget for the Aquatic Center was just over $6.1 million.  This was based on an actual analysis and a conservative estimation of the interest rate the city would be able to get once they were able to borrow the money (even though they have borrowed the money to pay the current bills the city doesn't borrow the long term bonds until later).  When the cost for the Aquatic Center Club House came in way over the budgeted amount, instead of using the conservative estimate for interest, council decided to compute how much they would be able to borrow based on a lower interest rate (interests rates are low today so they decided to plan on them being low next year too).  

Subsequent to these discussions the city decided to go ahead with the amphitheater part of the project knowing they would get some of the money in grants and hoping to get more.  But it was possible the city could end up needing to put in $400,000 toward the amphitheater.  The city's finance director advised council this money was available via TIF.  This prompted me to ask the question about which part of the TIF fund this money could come from:

1. Could it come from what was remaining after the recalculation of the interest rates?

2. Could it come from already collect TIF money that was sitting in the Bank?

3.  Could it come from extra receipts because more businesses were paying into the fund than when the original Aquatic Center analysis was computed.

His answer was yes, yes and yes.  Which gives the impression that there was at least $400,000 available through each of these methods for a total of at least $1.2 million.  In other words there was at least $1.2 million that wasn't needed for the first phase of the Aquatic Center. During open public meetings council has never asked the city's finance director to quantify how much money is available through TIF but from his answer it had to be at least $1.2 million.  It is more appropriate to use this money to pay for the sewer improvements in order to not stress our sewer reserve fund than it is to spend it on buying land so that we can give it to the developer of The Heights.  One of the main reasons it should be used for the Sewer instead of The Heights is because in The Heights development plan the city already has committed to using 80% of the new TIF money on the Heights project.  So the money already in the bank and the money collected this year is the only money that could be used for all the other infrastructure projects that our taxes normally fund. 



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p.s. I should add one caveat.  Early this year (Feb article) council was talking about improving the Huber Heights water system by implementing centralized conditioning before the put it into the pipes going to our homes.  I actually think this is an idea worth looking into and would be eager to look at the cost benefit analysis.  This is a project that could have been financed at least partially through the TIF money.  Now that council has decided to use all the TIF money for the Aquatic Center and The Heights project if the city wanted to do it then the money will have to come from water rate increases.  The amount of increase would depend on how much of the sewer reserve fund was available.  I haven't heard council talk about centralized conditioning for months.  I'm wondering if it got shelved because they decided to use the sewer reserve fund in order to build the Aquatic Center.




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