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Bronston and Bohannon Need To Go

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swohio75 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec 22 2016 at 10:34am
Their performance at Tuesday's council meeting was pathetic, and if anything continued the perception that Middletown is not business-friendly. 

I get wanting to hold people accountable for their development agreements.  But their grandstanding over the 1316 Vail property was pitiful, especially as Ms. Bronston was trying to negotiate with Mr. Robinnete from the Council Chambers--unacceptable as well as micro-managing Doug.

 I mean seriously, it looked like a pissing match over a couple hundred of dollars.  Utterly embarrassing. 

You can say what you will about Robinette's performance as a city employee or or the city's real estate deals, but he has made movement on both Central Ave and Vail properties. Robinette was even present to explain why he wasn't able to meet the original timeline (bringing a new/additional use to the site with One Market as well as not receiving possession of the building as outline in the agreement with the City). 

I get that Council wants some sort of accountability with these  development agreement especially with the Rose, Manchester and Snider properties.

But this looked like a personal vendetta against Robinette.



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middielover View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 22 2016 at 10:55pm
These two are a joke.
Like frick and frack
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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 23 2016 at 7:49am
hey middielover--where have you been?
I answered your ?s about my personal business activities 40+ years ago
yet you ignored my similar ?s about your activities

Face up to things
Maybe quit being an insulting negative trollette?
Personally not a big fan of Council in general, however it might be time for the downtowners to face up to their promises and obligations in regard to the taxpayer-funded slush funds, and I believe that this one happened on Bronston's and Bohannon's watch. Not that Mr.Robinette is a prime target--at least he is working towards something.

Caveat being that I did not watch the meeting or read any narrative. No mention in the local news online or in print.
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middielover View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 23 2016 at 8:21am
Spider
Just finished watching council meeting.
You need to view it.
Why take Robinette to task when there has clearly been substantial progress yet allow out of town owner of Manchester Inn buildings to do nothing for 3 years?
Bronston and Bohannon are clueless.
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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 23 2016 at 11:36am
Wow--we fundamentally agree
Still--you have to start somewhere, and these situations have festered far too long imo
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 23 2016 at 6:17pm
Just watched the council meeting out of curiosity. The council discussion, after Robinette made his statements, was like watching the "who's on first" routine from Abbott and Costello. A jumbled conversation between five council members with a periodic comment from Adkins seemed to reveal a tenuous and sometimes awkward discussion at best. Even included a thousand dollar offer from Picard to keep the ball rolling on the project.

After more discussion and a realization that the city sent paperwork to Robinette later than was expected, the five wonders decided to vote again, unanimously approving the ordinance and moving the downtown business project ahead.

I guess it took awhile to realize that a few hundred bucks wasn't a good reason to hinder a project costing and yielding much more than that amount. This should have been apparent early on in the conversation.

We still don't have continuity and clear thinking on council after decades of trying do we. Is this the best Middletown can do as to the quality of council member candidates? I'll go a step further to suggest that not only Bohannon and Bronston should go........hell, they all should go as we still have a hint of the Schiavone/Williams days in place. We all remember those days on the council comedy circuit don't we?

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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middielover View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 24 2016 at 8:48am
Bronston and Bohannon are not business friendly to local investors but don't question giving tax breaks to multi million dollar businesses from out of town.
Why give tax abatement to an auto parts retailer?
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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 24 2016 at 8:57am
Or anyone who isn't adding a good number of living wage full-time positions.
It's not like we are flush with cash and providing high quality basic services
Or are we flush with cash?
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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 24 2016 at 9:02am

Middletown business won’t be penalized for delays

Mike Rutledge

Staff Writer

1:12 p.m Friday, Dec. 23, 2016  Middletown

 

MIDDLETOWN

City Council, frustrated by delays a micro-distillery had meeting contractually required deadlines, voted to penalize the company $100 per month starting Jan. 1.

Initially, the emergency legislation proposed by City Manager Doug Adkins failed on Tuesday. But after the company’s owner pointed out the city had been the cause of the delays, council reconsidered and approved the legislation as an emergency measure, rather than letting the development agreement lapse.

Mike Robinette, the owner of Liberty Spirits LLC, pointed out some of the slowness in meeting those timelines was prompted by a lag by Middletown’s city administration in providing the company a deed.

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That delay stalled the company’s work on the property at 1316 Vail Ave., which Liberty Spirits bought from the city for $1 amid controversy about the price and tax abatements, although Robinette said he did do work on the roof while awaiting the deed.

Upon hearing city government had hindered progress on the work, council members reversed themselves.

Adkins initially recommended the council penalize Liberty Spirits for failing to have the building on Vail ready for operations by Dec. 31, as had been specified under an agreement with city government.

Adkins, who early this year had been a strong proponent of the sale and abatement despite concerns of some on the council, noted the building has been gutted, has a new roof, new windows and a garage door, “but no way is it anywhere near to be ready by Dec. 31.”

As was allowed under the contract, Liberty Spirits has sought a deadline extension to April 15. The company now expects to be open by mid-March.

Adkins recommended that in exchange for granting the extension, the city penalize Liberty Spirits at a rate of $100 per month, starting Jan. 1, from a $1,000 deposit the company made, with the remainder of the deposit defaulted if the building isn’t open by April 15.

Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. noted that while Liberty Spirits failed to meet the deadline, it’s important to be equitable and treat businesses equitably. Officials noted other businesses also haven’t met their development-agreement deadlines.

Mulligan said he thought $100 per month was reasonable.

Council Member Steve Bohannon disagreed: “I think he should lose his $1,000,” he said, with perhaps additional monthly penalties of $100 or $250.

Vice Mayor Dora Bronston thought Robinette should be penalized either $250 per month from the deposit or the entire $1,000.

Adkins and Mulligan suggested Liberty Spirits, facing penalties, could say, “nevermind” to the project.

“I think this brings a good point, in the fact that we shouldn’t be owning real estate in the city, because this puts us in a heck of a bind every time this comes about, so we can help other people out,” Bohannon said. “We write contracts that we sat down and agreed upon, for this contract to be written, and it seems to me like it doesn’t mean anything….”

Adkins responded that if the business opens 60 days late, the city nevertheless will have a new company operating.

Council Member Talbott Moon said he could agree with Bohannon’s and Bronston’s idea of taking $250 per month from the deposit.

Robinette said more than the money, he objected to the city singling him out when other companies have missed deadlines.

“I feel like I’m being singled out here, and I’ve invested a substantial amount of money in this project downtown,” he said. “So if the intent is to try to extract a pound of flesh out of me, you can do that. But if you want to get down to the nit-picky aspects of the contract, which you seem to be interested in doing, Mr. Bohannon, the contract says we would have had deed to the property by April 30. We didn’t get the deed until May 27” He later clarified the date was May 26.

The city took weeks longer than promised to make the deed transfer happen under the early March agreement, Robinette said: “The city hasn’t abided by the contract, in terms of when we were supposed to get control of the project.”

Council voted 3-2 to penalize Liberty Spirits $100 per month, with Bohannon and Bronston voting no.

Bronston later voiced concern that the matter was a late addition to the council’s agenda as an emergency measure, leaving her to feel on the spot. Because the legislation was an emergency matter, requiring at least 4-1 approval, it failed to win approval with the first vote.

Council Member Daniel Picard later offered to personally pay $1,000 on Liberty Spirits’ behalf.

“I’ll invest my $1,000 in Liberty Spirits to move it forward,” he said.

Robinette again told council the deed wasn’t delivered until May 26, and Bohannon announced he would change his vote because of the delay.

Council then voted 5-0 to approve the legislation, penalizing the company $100 per month.

“I apologize to council for the confusion,” Adkins said after the vote.

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spiderjohn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 24 2016 at 9:40am
Take Picard's $$$!!!!
And same for similar lagging projects!

What an insane offer-solution!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 24 2016 at 10:26am
Spider
I have heard enough of this crap
I dare the Downtowners to read the contract written and approved by the last council for the Manchester and Snyder buildings, Mercy, a high school drop-out could have written a better contract...NO PERFORMANCE CONDITIONS WHAT SO EVER! 
We have three council members that demanded conditions to the Robinette give away contract and now they are being slammed for doing the right thing.
These council members should be given a gold star and a big thank you.



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middielover View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 26 2016 at 3:54pm
Vivian
If the city owns a building that is condemned and will be expensive to tear down and someone is willing to take the building and makes repairs so that it is usable, how is that a give away?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 26 2016 at 4:30pm
middielover
Are we talking about the Robinette deal?
If so, City Hall should not have purchased the cabinet shop property on Vail for $95,000 so they could move their business to begin with.
Then City Hall added the empty lots that face Central Ave, plus tax credits.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 27 2016 at 8:13am
Vivian
While I might agree with you about the city's purchase the fact is they did.
So my question to you once again is:
If the city can unload a building which is condemned and avoid the tear down cost in exchange for someone investing in restoring the building isnt' t that a good (even smart) thing to do?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 27 2016 at 10:16am
The building was not condemned at time of purchase, and was functioning as a cabinet shop.
You honestly need to trace this back to the beginning to understand the amazing journey that has led us to this point.
You couldn't make up anything as crazy as the reality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 27 2016 at 1:18pm
Spider
In my first post I forgot to include the purchase of the mission on Central Ave for $120,000 by City Hall and then demo cost that were also part of the Robinette give away...
This was more than a give away....this was a gift with a big bow on top of tax payers money.
And how many jobs is this gift going to produce?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 27 2016 at 2:10pm

Spider
Let us not forget the other great real estate deal that them boys at City Hall did with the property right next door.

City Hall purchased the Studio building from Finkleman for $1.
Sooo within the next five years the tax payers will get the privilege of paying the million dollars price tag for demo of this building also.
Then after they plant the grass maybe they can sell this property to Robinette also for $1.
Mercy...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middielover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 29 2016 at 4:56am
Vivian
No answer to my question!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote What A City Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 29 2016 at 6:24am
Originally posted by middielover middielover wrote:

Vivian
If the city owns a building that is condemned and will be expensive to tear down and someone is willing to take the building and makes repairs so that it is usable, how is that a give away?


I'd like to interject if I may here and offer a viewpoint.......

Let's start by getting one thing out of the way here....

"If the city owns a building"....The city has repeatedly said that they were "getting out of the real estate business". They have made that remark many times in the past. Return question to middielover's question. Why is the city still buying buildings using the taxpayer's money?

The city has purchased several buildings in the past where there were no takers. The Studio Theatre comes to mind here with the million dollar price tag to remove the asbestos. The Manchester was purchased using taxpayer money with a city asking price of 350 thou.....no takers and GIVEN AWAY for a buck with little to no work done on it since that time. The Thatcher Estate buildings were purchased using taxpayer money. Out of that purchase, the old CG&E building is currently being used by CS, the old Barnitz bank building sat for years before a buyer was found (Walden wasn't it?)and the First National Bank building on the corner of Central and Main has had a few tenants over the years. The old Seniors Center was purchased at 130 grand and has sat empty for years now. (Wasn't it given back to the city after some buyer backed out?) Don't remember. And hey, how about the Rose building fiasco to date? That is one giant cluster....Oh, and the old Journal building hasn't been a Sunday stroll in it's development either. And, of course, there's always the old "car hood" PAC, the "flagship of success" in the downtown. Again, using taxpayer money, it was set up with the city purchase of the old John Ross/Armco Steel building and converted into arts studios for their artzy buddies. It has been a revolving door of tenants to date also. And then there are the Moormans with the 75 thou dollar city loan and the old GC Murphy building giveaway.(Was that ever repaid?) A lot of activity but few success stories. Even the most optimistic would honestly have to do a double take on the transaction history in the downtown area.

The point is, IF the city did what it said it was going to do....IE, "Get out of the real estate business", none of this would be an issue because any property transactions would be made in the private sector domain and the city would be totally out of the picture. Instead, the city leaders keep purchasing property downtown to control who eventually moves into that property to protect their little dream of an artzy, "cultural" utopia. (which will never work by the way simply because it will never be accepted by 95% of the people living here). We are blue collar, proud of it and not exactly the most "cultured" people to satisfy the downtown dream of a few people who have no clue what Middletown demographics are all about. JMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Nagy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 29 2016 at 7:01am
What a great city,
      What a great post and you have done a great service to the city taxpayers letting them know how their money is continuously wasted and misappropriated by concentrating mostly on the down town with city investment. It has not paid off and demonstrates a lack of knowledge about how to grow a city when its main business leaves. Now we have Ak Steel, Suncoke and the new gas line company. These make the city environmentally dirty and unsafe and will keep a lot of people and businesses from moving in. We have a city manager who is a lawyer who did a lot of harm to many people with Judy Gilliland. Council ignored any candidates who had experience and were qualified to manage a city like Middletown. They chose a lawyer who knows nothing about it and is feeling his way along and keeps wasting money in the name of his "plan".
      The "Pet Projects" and personal protection and benefits to a few need to be stopped. This next election time is the best opportunity we have had in many years to throw the current regime out and let some new younger business people get in and grow Middletown. We have some great younger talent in the city now if we can just get them in the right position. Everyone's vote is more important than ever. But I repeat, this is the time. The Chamber needs to have a plan and take action.
      Thank you again for such an informative post
       Paul Nagy

      
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 29 2016 at 11:27am

Vivian
If the city owns a building that is condemned and will be expensive to tear down and someone is willing to take the building and makes repairs so that it is usable, how is that a give away?

middielover
This is not a simple yes or no question so I can not answer your question.
A great deal depends on the location of the property and the long term vision of the planning department for the area and how the city acquired the property.

Is the property residential or business property that will produce jobs?


 

 

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