January 16, 2003
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Village Council business—
Development plan floated

Council president Tony Arnett last week presented a plan to spur the development of a commerce park in Yellow Springs. In addition, a local group interested in economic issues urged Council to make the creation of a commerce park here a high priority.

At Council’s meeting Jan. 6, Arnett presented what he called an “enterprise zone paper” that outlined nine steps for the Village to take to accomplish that goal. Under his plan, the Village would work with a developer to build a park here.

The Village would not actually build a commerce park, Arnett said, but instead would create an “enterprise zone,” or specific location on which to build a park, and produce a marketing package for development. He proposed the Village use part of its Economic Revolving Loan Fund to purchase an option on land targeted for commercial development in an economic agreement signed last year by Council and the Miami Township trustees. Once a buyer for the land is found, the Village would transfer the land option to that buyer.

The agreement, a cooperative economic development agreement, or CEDA, designates two areas for possible development: 46 acres of farmland on the northwest corner of East Enon and Dayton-Yellow Springs roads, which is owned by Vernay Laboratories, and 39.6 acres of farmland on the east side of East Enon Road, which is part of the Pitstick Farm.

Arnett proposed the Village cite a specific piece of property for the enterprise zone.

As part of his plan, Arnett also proposed the Village identify what kind of incentives the local government is willing to offer to the developer and potential businesses, including tax abatements, funds from the Revolving Loan Fund and incentives for extending Village utilities.

Saying the Village “shouldn’t be in the real estate business,” Arnett stressed the need to work with a developer. “Our No. 1 friend in this effort is whoever we pick to help us,” he said.

Arnett’s proposal came in response to a presentation by Community Resources, which in a position paper urged Council, as well as the trustees, to “take concrete action” to make a commerce park a reality.

During last week’s meeting, Sam Bach-tell, a member of Community Resources’ Board of Trustees, who has been actively involved in the commerce park issue, said recent developments in the local economy make the need for a park here “critical.” Citing Vernay Laboratories’ decision to close its local plants, and the lack of plans by other major industrial companies to expand here, Bachtell said, “It is clear to us, Yellow Springs needs economic development if we’re going to reverse the economic decline we’re seeing.”

He also said that the Village must ensure that space and services are available for a commercial park.

* * *

In other Council business:

• Council unanimously approved a resolution to formally contract with the Regional Income Tax Agency, or RITA, to collect the Village’s income tax revenue. Last month, Council members said they would hire RITA, which will replace the City of Dayton. Dayton, which had provided the tax collection service for more than 30 years, announced in November that it would no longer provide tax collection services to other municipalities, because of budget concerns the city is experiencing.

The Village levies a 1.5 percent income tax on people who work in Yellow Springs and, in certain cases, who live here.

For more information on RITA, see the agency’s Web site, www.rita.to. Village Manager Rob Hillard said questions about income tax collection should be directed to him. He can be reached at 767-1279.

• Krista Magaw, executive director of the Tecumseh Land Trust, gave a presentation in which she asked Council to retain the Village green belt fund and to continue to help the land trust in its efforts to preserve farmland and open spaces around Yellow Springs. Magaw said the State of Ohio has available preservation grants that require some local matching funds, which, she indicated, the Village may be able to provide.

Magaw also highlighted the need to provide an open space boundary around town. With development cropping up in Fairborn, the west side of Yellow Springs is vulnerable, she said.

Last month, Hillard recommended the Village not provide the fund with additional revenue in 2003. According to the preliminary 2003 Village budget, there is nearly $137,000 in the fund.

During the meeting, Arnett said that Council would leave money in the fund and that Council “would be willing to hear about spending that money” on preservation efforts.

• Hillard reported that the Village earned nearly $143,800 when the Village sold its Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield stock. Village employees with health insurance will receive a total of $25,374 from the sale. The Village received stock from Anthem when the company went public in 2001. Because the Village cannot hold stock, it had to sell its shares.

Several Council members said that the Village should not spend its proceeds on operational expenses, but instead use the funds on capital projects.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution giving Hillard the authorization to make day-to-day expenditures until the 2003 budget is approved.

• There is an opening on the Village Board of Zoning Appeals. To apply for the position, send a letter of inquiry to the clerk of Council, 100 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, or e-mail, debenning@yso.com.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution to pay $730 in dues to the Ohio Municipal League and $50 to the league’s Legal Advocacy fund.


—Robert Mihalek