In a letter mailed to Sugarcreek Township residents on June 26, 2015 by George Oberer, Jr., he made statements that angered not only the residents to whom received the letter, but also the administrator and trustees for the township by making false allegations and contradictory statements regarding the ongoing problems surrounding the Cornerstone development, formally known as the Dille property or the property that was annexed by Centerville. Issues surrounding whether or not Sugarcreek Township is to provide fire and EMS services to the Cornerstone development has been a topic of discussion for many years prior to the opening of Costco and is now an issue before the Federal Court. It’s unknown as to why Mr. Oberer felt the need to send letters to the residents of the Township, but his intension was made clear- to ruffle feathers.
“I’m so upset by the misrepresentations of the letter and I want the facts known,” Sugarcreek Township Trustee, Nadine Daughtery said.
As stated in Mr. Oberer’s June 26 mailing to the township residents, he states,”…Sugarcreek Township Trustees rejected an offer that would have provided $4 million in revenue for fire and EMS services, but Sugarcreek Township Trustees walked away from the negotiating table.”
Mr. Oberer also referred to Centerville’s June edition of the Town Crier, a small publication sent to Centerville residents, which also stated that Sugarcreek Township walked away from the mediation but in more detail. It stated, “In February, the Sugarcreek Township Trustees walked away from court-ordered mediation and from a proposed agreement jointly negotiated with Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District, Cornerstone Developers, the City of Centerville and Sugarcreek Township. The agreement would have provided more than $4 million for fire and EMS services to Sugarcreek Township. On two separate occasions, Sugarcreek Township officials stated that the cost to provide fire and EMS services to the Cornerstone Development would be approximately $1 million. The proposed agreement would have provided more than four times the funding at a time when the Township needs it – a significant financial windfall for all of Sugarcreek Township, which currently is projecting half a million dollars deficiency for its fire department in the coming years. Centerville Council continues to reach out to Sugarcreek Township with hopes the trustees will ratify the agreement previously negotiated.”
With that said, why are the Sugarcreek Township Trustees upset? They’re upset mainly and solely because the statement is far from the truth. The “Fact Sheet” from the City of Centerville that is referred to in Mr. Oberer’s letter is anything but fact, according to the Sugarcreek Township Trustees.
As a matter of fact, the City of Centerville never offered the Township $4 million in revenue. “What the City offered was less than $.50 on the dollar for the tax revenue it will be diverting to benefit the developer and the City of Centerville, only if the property develops to the lofty goals of the developer,” Daughtery said. “In the court-ordered mediation, the City of Centerville refused to negotiate or move from their offer that was not acceptable months earlier. The Township did attempt to negotiate and made several suggestions that were rejected out of hand by the City.” During the November 2014 Township Meeting, they discussed the offer made by the City of Centerville. The offer was to accept a fee of $85,000 for services that would cost approximately $230,000 plus a year, putting the township in the red for the next 30 years. It was projected that the Costco shopping center is more than likely to generate between 25-30% of the call log for the fire and EMS departments, car accidents, medical emergencies and other incidents. It was decided, the offer made by Centerville would not be in the interest of the township’s residents.
The Township and the Board of Trustees are currently involved in a Federal lawsuit brought about by Mr. Oberer within which he makes claim that the actions of the Trustees have rendered the Cornerstone property without value. However, in his letter of June 26, he refers to the Fact Sheet of the Town Crier that states, “Cornerstone North is already providing significant revenue to Sugarcreek Township, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools, and Greene County… and revenues from property and sales taxes will continue to grow substantially over time.” The Town Crier further states, that the property generates approximately $1,500 in tax revenue for Sugarcreek and when completed it will generate over $2.4 million in tax revenue. Until the publication of the “Fact Sheet,” Centerville had not provided such revenue estimates to the parties of the lawsuit.
“Mr. Oberer’s own words demonstrate the contradictions we continue to hear. In his letter, he quotes the City’s Town Crier as stating that it would provide “$4 million in revenue for fire and EMS services.” On his fact sheet, he then states that it, “will generate an estimated $2.4 million in tax revenue for Sugarcreek Township and Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools.” The statements don’t add up,” Daughtery said.
The Cornerstone Fact Sheet also states, “Cornerstone has helped fund infrastructure and road improvements in and around Feedwire Rd., Wilmington Pike, and the I-675 interchange ramp.” Centerville estimates the funding cost approximately $25 million for the road improvements.
According to Sugarcreek Township, the City of Centerville plans to divert the property tax revenue from this development over the next 30 years to benefit the City of Centerville and the developer. While the City of Centerville and the developer makes “improvements” to the infrastructure that will serve their interests, the Township and County own roadways that will need improvements because of the increased traffic on roadways. Centerville enacted a TIF that will ensure that the Township and County Road departments will not receive one additional dollar to maintain those roads over the next 30 years.
“Our police officers are responding to calls in the Cornerstone area today and will continue to do so in the future in the interest of public safety,” Daughtery said. “Centerville enacted a TIP that will also ensure that the Police Department will not receive one additional dollar from this development to provide services for the next 30 years.”
For more information or to voice opinions, please attend a joint meeting on July 13, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dayton Korean Baptist Church located at 5051 Wilmington Pike, Centerville.