Mr. Andy Rose had a few….well more than a few…objections to our article on the proposed new fire station….Here is his unedited response….
With regard to your article, “Concord Trustees….love their continuous levies!” published on 6/17/19, I have some objections to the information you placed in the article.
Para 1 – You state lobbyists are “gearing up for battle against unrestrained spending by the Concord Trustees”. I take exception to this statement. While it’s more opinion based, it comes across as inflammatory. We are not looking for “a battle” but rather we are taking a deliberate and transparent process to fund the fire station projects as well as provide infrastructure dollars for Concord’s future. Unrestrained spending??? Hogwash! You have seen our books and you can re-review them on Ohio Checkbook. We are paying off a multi-million dollar road project loan over 10 years early. I can provide evidence of this.
Para 2 – You wrote “$18 MILLION DOLLAR LEVY ON CONCORD BALLOT FOR TWO NEW FIREHOUSES”. There is NO levy on the ballot. No levy for $18 million has even been proposed. What is your fact based evidence for this statement? In addition, you do not mention that in my presentation, we are also utilizing JEDD and TIF dollars to fund the fire station. Finally, my recommendation is for an infrastructure, building, and public lands levy and not strictly a continuous levy for two fire stations. When did I or the Trustees/Fiscal Officer ever say anything about an $18 million levy for two firehouses? I would like to see the evidence on that please.
Para 3 – You wrote “Our Trustees are planning to put a levy on our November ballot for $18 million dollars to build two Fire Houses at once. The new Fire Stations would replace existing Fire House No.1 on Rt. 608 at Ravenna Road and Fire House No.2 on Prouty Road. [Utilizing the existing sites].” Again…where does the $18 million levy come from? The Trustees have not weighed in on a levy amount. They also talked about bonds as a possibility. My initial recommendation as Administrator was to place a 1 mil levy on the ballot. That recommendation was done at a public meeting back in March. Here is the link to the presentation: https://concordtwp.com/government/public-meetings/ and then select the video for the February 6, 2019 meeting. My presentation begins at 49:54. Please note that this was given in an OPEN MEETING and ON THE RECORD for all to see. I also gave this same presentation at the Strategic Planning meeting we held on January 25, 2019. There were 3 members of the public in attendance (Vanessa Pesec, Denise Brewster, and Mark Falcone).
Para 4 – You wrote “An extravagant architectural design for No. 1 is projected to cost Concord residents $13 million dollars right out of our pockets. No. 2 is expected to reach $5 million dollars. [The architect & company will be paid an additional $2 million dollars from other monies belonging to the citizens of Concord Township.]” Yes, the design may seem extravagant because we want a nice looking exterior façade. That said, if you remember during the most recent Trustee meeting held on June 5, 2019, the Trustees stated the administration portion was being removed from the project. You can watch it again at the same link provided above. The architect fees were not published but we did provide them to Vanessa Pesec based on a records request. I find it interesting since she was the only one we provided the information to. We did not publish the cost estimates because we have gone back to the architect to call out some of the calculations. In addition, those fees are based on construction costs and with the building being redesigned, those costs will go down. You have old information.
Para 5 – You wrote “Both of these projects are priced millions of dollars OVER the costs of half a dozen new Fire Stations in other nearby communities.” While somewhat accurate on its face it is not telling the entire story. You must compare apples to apples. Some of the stations called out in Denise Brewster’s sheet are renovations. Some are sub stations which only house three firefighters and an ambulance. It is an unfair comparison. Denise and I have had several discussions about this and I along with our staff continue to spend valuable time to debunk the comparisons in order to ensure fair information is presented.
Para 9 – You wrote “THE TRUSTEES HAVE LOST CONTACT WITH THE PEOPLE AND ARE PRICING SENIORS AND THOSE LIVING ON FIXED INCOMES OUT OF THEIR HOMES!” I could not disagree more. The Trustees and our Fiscal Officer have been diligent in holding costs down as best they can. Again…we will pay off a 20 year loan over 10 years early. Name one other public organization that has done this. In addition, we do not price Seniors out of their homes. Approximately 16.8 percent of your total tax bill comes to the Township. The rest goes to other entities. We also do not make this decision unilaterally…we place it on the ballot and the voters, the citizens of Concord, make the decision. Stop laying this at the feet of the Trustees.
The rest of the article is opinion and I really do not care about that stuff. As I stated during the Trustee meeting on June 5th, (starting at the 10:43 mark) I don’t care about opinions but I do care that information being disseminated is factual. Where are your facts?
I respectfully request this article be removed and/or rewritten. I do not think this is an unreasonable request. I am available for a meeting to review the facts with you or any of your “Concord Township lobbyists” any time that is convenient for us to meet.