Although the Port Clinton City Council has already motioned once to go forward with negotiations with Washington Properties, the motion was brought to the floor last night once again.
“Late in the summer last year I motioned to go forward with negotiations with Washington Properties and the motion came to a 3 to 3 tie which was broke by President Linda Hartlaub who voted yes to break the tie. In that time period we have new people at the table and we need an idea of how those people sitting here feel.
I move that this Council restate to the Administration our strong desire to move Port Clinton forward and ask that Mayor Leone and his negotiating team give the utmost focus and attention to working with Washington Properties, Inc. to discuss, organize and present a plan of implementation for development of the 14 plus or minus acres of commercially zoned land offered by the City of Port Clinton for said purpose. Additionally, and in accordance with Ohio statute, this plan should be presented to City Council for consideration and further action within the earliest possible timeframe allowed by the parties involved.” Mike Snider
Before the council cast their votes, President Hartlaub read a statement from Councilman Gabe Below who was absent due to a business obligation.
Given my planned absence at the March 11th regular meeting of Council, I would like to provide my comments on the negotiations with Washington Properties.
I have found the overview of the Water Works project to be positive and worthy of further consideration by the City. Therefore, I support continued negotiations between the City Administration and Washington Properties. If I were to have the opportunity to vote on such a motion today my vote would be “Yes.”
Councilman, Fourth Ward
Ron Aukerman, Jerry Tarolli, Margaret Phillips, Nicole DeFreitas, Lisa Sarty and Mike Snider all voted yes to the motion of moving forward in negotiations with Washington Properties. The motion was presented after the council and residents in the council chamber listened to the economic impact study that was given by Jamie Beier-Grant, Director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation and Hans Rosebrock, Manager, Economic Development and External Affairs of First Energy.
Scope of the project: Waterfront Development Project
•Estimated value of new construction: $60 million
•Estimated square footage of project: 333,000 sq. ft.
•Construction/contract jobs: 500 (100 per year for 5 years)
•Construction/contractor jobs spending: $1,250,000 (over 5 years)
Permanent jobs and payroll
•New direct jobs created: 585
•New direct payroll: $11 million
•Average payroll per employee: $18,803
•Total value economic impact: $149 million
•Total new jobs supported: 702
•Total new payroll supported: $49.5 million
New tax revenue (direct and indirect)
•City portion: $70,590
•County portion: $70,590
“When construction is done, it’s not like one day 585 jobs are here and then they’re gone,” said Jamie Beier-Grant. “They are phased in and out and we portrayed that in our findings; we wanted to be as realistic as possible.”
Remarks from residents after presentation
Directly after the presentation, Beier-Grant and Rosebrock took questions from the audience.
Resident: Would a different location of the development change the numbers?
Beier-Grant and Rosebrock: No. As long as the development is within the city limits, the numbers would be very similar.
Resident: Will the occupancy of the new housing affect the numbers?
Beier-Grant and Rosebrock: We used a 65-75% occupancy rate as the average to balance out the higher numbers in the summer and the lower numbers in the winter. With the addition of the convention center, it could attract more occupancy year round.
Resident: With the impact, what’s the cost?
Beier-Grant and Rosebrock: We were not asked to find those numbers.
Resident: What about layoffs in the off season?
Beier-Grant and Rosebrock: The project’s purpose is to make the season be year round and to create jobs.
After the question and answer session with the audience, Rosebrock addressed the audience.
“You know, you’re right… there will be some costs,” said Rosebrock, “but overall I see this being a real benefit to the community.”
Council remarks after the vote
After council passed the motion, for a second time, to move forward with the development the council each took a moment to make a statement.
Ron Aukerman: Votes aren’t cast with no thought or without seeing the consequences. We are fully aware of what this vote means. We want to do what we can for the city, to move forward for the good of the community.
Lisa Sarty: It’s good to see the information in front of you in black and white. A lot of thought has gone into all our decisions.
Jerry Tarolli: I second what Ron said, I couldn’t of said it better myself.
Margaret Phillips: We know we need to move forward; we need to more forward carefully.
Residents’ remarks after the vote
Resident: Many of you weren’t here when the last motion to do this went through. They pulled the funding and then the citizens had to pay. You voted to go forward on land that might not be yours, how can you go forward and motion that?
Resident: When will we know how much the city will pay?
Mayor Leone: That will come out in negotiations with the developer.
Resident: What about the Walleye Festival? Where will it be held?
Main Street Port Clinton representative (Main Street Port Clinton puts on the Walleye Festival): We are looking to see what transposes. Bucyrus has one of their festivals right downtown on the street. We think that might be a good thing for the businesses downtown to have the festival there if we need to.
Where to go from here
When Mike Rose was asked how he felt after the meeting he said “encouraged”.
Residents of Port Clinton are encouraged to voice their opinions and ideas to the council person in their district. Also, anyone wanting an electronic copy of the economic impact from FirstEnergy can contact their council person or by calling city hall at 419-734-5522.