City council and its committees met last night. Here are my notes:
- The farmers’ market at Stow Community United Church of Christ will be back for its fifth summer. Council also granted it a perpetual exemption to continue operations, so that it does not need to request permission in following years. This year, it will begin on June 13 and continue until October 13. I believe it has been a great addition to our community and to its neighborhood.
- Council approved a 114,188 sq. ft. building at the southeast corner of Seasons Road and Route 8. The developer is building it on a speculative basis, so it is presently unknown whether the future tenant will use the space for office, manufacturing, or warehousing. This is an important project because it may serve to spur further development in that corridor.
- The City will hold its traditional Memorial Day ceremony at the Kent Road Cemetery at 10:15 a.m.
- On Wednesday, I had the privilege of a lifetime as a volunteer for Honor Flight. We flew from Cleveland Hopkins to Baltimore, carrying 24 veterans of World War II and the Korean War. We took a bus to Washington, D.C. and escorted the veterans through all of the war memorials. These folks got standing ovations in the airport, had children asking for their pictures with them … It was like they were rock stars–and they deserve it. My veteran had perhaps the most compelling background. He was a Holocaust survivor, who came to the United States and then was drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean War. Please “like” my Facebook page, and you will be able to see the entire album of pictures that I took.
- Oh, and something big happened to me personally since my last post. I got married! Many of you might remember Laura from the 2013 campaign, when we were only dating. She is truly special, and I am very blessed.
- Council will meet next on May 28.
Here are my notes from last night’s city council meetings:
Seasons Road Business Center
As I mentioned in the past, we are excited about a new commercial development at the southeast corner of the Seasons Road/Route 8 interchange. Development in this area has been long overdue. There will be three different parcels and structures. The first is expected to cost $7.5MM and create 60 jobs. It is being done on a speculative basis (i.e., no tenant yet).
Here are some of the details about the incentives Stow is providing:
Construction of Water Line – The developer will pay more than $1MM in construction costs for the road that will provide access, but Stow agreed to pay $124,080 for the water line.
CRA tax incentive – Stow will abate the increase in property taxes for a period of 15 years. In other words: Ordinarily, the new development (and the resulting increase in property valuation) would lead to a very large step-up in property taxes, but Stow is delaying that step-up for 15 years.
If you ask me, it’s all worth it. We needed to get the fire started in that area, and I think this development could lead to others. If I were the mayor, I would have been proactively reaching out to these property owners with incentives years ago, not just waiting for developers to come to me.
We approved about $300K to purchase two new snow plows. This will allow us to avoid costly maintenance on the older vehicles.
We approved a measure to issue restructured 2015 notes. That, in itself, is not that interesting to the average resident. But residents should be aware of the great strides that city council has made in limiting new debt in the past 6-8 years. In 2008, the city’s note and bond debt was $33.6 million. In 2015, it will be about $20 million. (Compare and contrast this with the federal government.)
We approved a new union contract with AFSCME workers. They will receive 2% pay increases for each of the next three years. But their contribution to healthcare will rise from about $105/month to $165/month (for family coverage) over that time period.
Oh, and I’m getting married in eight days! Laura and I are very excited.