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COMMUNITY JOURNAL CLERMONT 75¢ WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013 Your Community Press newspaper serving Amelia, Batavia, Batavia Township, New Richmond, Ohio Township, Pierce Township, Union Township, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Township BECAUSE COMMUNITY MATTERS W. Clermont: ‘Money will run out’ By Forrest Sellers UNION TWP. — What’s next? That’s the question West Clermont Local School District Board of Education members and residents were asking in the wake of the defeat of the district’s tax-hike proposal Nov. 5. The 5.8-mill additional taxhike proposal was defeated by voters 8,404 to 6,604. “At some point money will run out,” said board member Denise Smith, an incumbent candidate who was not re-elected. Smith, along with outgoing board member JoAnn Beamer, asked how the district will proceed following the treasurer’s report during the November meeting. Young The district warned it could potentially be placed in fiscal emergency by the state if the levy failed to pass. Treasurer Alanna Cropper said the district is currently in “fiscal caution” and will continue to be monitored by the Ohio Department of Education. Cuts have been made said Cropper, adding that recent concessions by teachers have saved the district several million dollars. SuperintenKline dent Keith Kline said “a disconnect” was evident between what he had heard from the community at various meetings and how voters responded at the polls. “Staff will continue to work hard with the resources it has,” he said. Board President Doug Young said parents may likely respond to further cuts by moving out of the district or sending their children to other schools. “I think this will have a detrimental affect,” said Young regarding the levy defeat. “Without additional revenue we will be hurting.” Some residents also expressed concerns. Union Township resident Ron Higgins said he feared not having “a single educator” on the board come 2014. “My greatest concern isn’t lower taxes, it’s the educational welfare of the students,” he said. IT’S COLLECTION TIME Now you can get more for your dollar! In the next seven to10 days your carrier will be collecting for your community newspaper. When you pay your carrier the monthly charge of $3.50 you will receive a coupon for $3.50 off a classified ad. Not only will you be helping to supplement your carrier’s income you will also be saving money doing it. For information about our carrier program, call circulation manager Steve Barraco at 248-7110, or email him at ‘BIG PLANS’ FOR JUNGLE JIM’S Jungle Jim's International Market representatives say an expansion is planned for the Eastgate location, but are mum on details.JEANNE By Jeanne Houck UNION TWP. — Officials in Union Township and other public agencies are involved in a series of moves that will enrich the township’s coffers by more than $8 million while helping Jungle Jim’s International Market finance an expansion at its Eastgate location. Here’s how it is unfolding, according to Andy Kuchta, director of Clermont County CommuKuchta nity and Economic Development. » The Clermont County Port Authority agreed in September to essentially adopt Jungle Jim’s Eastgate expansion plans as an economic-development project. » Earlier this month, the port authority voted to issue up to $23.5 million in bonds to help Jungle Jim’s temporarily buy and make improvements to the nearly 41-acre site where “The Shoppes at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate” mall at 4450 Eastgate South Drive is located. The property is owned by the Union Township Community Improvement Corporation, the economic-development arm of the township. Jungle Jim’s, through its affiliate, the Noble Family Eastgate Co., has been leasing the property from the community improvement corporation. » Noble Family Eastgate HOUCK/THE COMMUNITY PRESS now is exercising its previously negotiated right to buy the property for $8.5 million. » The Clermont County Port Authority will purchase the property from the Noble Family Eastgate with bond proceeds. “As of today, the bonds have not yet been issued, but they are currently being marketed by the port authority’s underwriter,” Kuchta said. The port authority will also allow Noble Family Eastgate to use proceeds from the sale of the bonds to satisfy outstanding obligations currently secured by the property and to make improvements there, including the construction of more retail space. Bond proceeds will not be used to acquire more property. » The Union Township Board of Trustees in July had created a “Special Improvement District” comprised of Jungle Jim’s site in Eastgate. » Nov. 14, Union Township agreed to, for a maximum of 20 years, annually bill property owners in Jungle Jim’s special improvement district a special assessment to pay off the bonds the Clermont County Port Authority issued. The district was created at the request of the Union Township Community Improvement Corporation, the property owner, with the blessing of Jungle Jim’s. “The special assessments are in addition to, not in lieu of, property taxes,” Kuchta said. “The normal real estate property taxes will still continue to be paid. “The purpose of the special improvement district is to impose a special assessment on FOOD ANOTHER LEVY? Enjoy meatballs and be gluten-free with Giovanna Trimpe’s recipe. Full story, B3 A West Clermont school levy could be a possibility in 2014 – or maybe not depending who is asked. Full story, A2 the property, at the request of the property owner, to generate additional revenue to pay for public services,” Kuchta said. “The additional payments to the (special improvement district) will be for purposes of making bond payments.” » The port authority eventually will sell the property back to the Union Township Community Improvement Corporation for $1 and the community improvement corporation will once again become Jungle Jim’s landlord in Eastgate. So why this series of sales only to have the property return to the ownership of the Community Improvement Corporation? “Each of the agencies involved in this transaction have special skill sets that they are bringing to the table,” Kuchta Contact us News ..........................248-8600 Retail advertising ..............768-8404 Classified advertising .........242-4000 Delivery ........................576-8240 See page A2 for additional information said. “The port authority’s role as a conduit issuer is obviously important because the bond market is very familiar with port authority-issued bonds on projects such as this one. “The Union Township Community Improvement Corporation has an intimate understanding of Jungle Jim’s and the property itself, the Community Improvement Corporation has already served as Noble Family Eastgate’s landlord for the past few years and the Community Improvement Corporation has agreed to continue to commit its resources to administer the new lease to Noble Family Eastgate,” Kuchta said. “The lease payments, consisting basically of the special assessments, will help service the bond debt. “In consideration of that commitment and to coordinate efficient use of local economic development resources, the port authority will convey the property to the Community Improvement Corporation,” Kuchta said. » Annual debt service payments are scheduled to begin Dec. 1, 2014, and are currently estimated to be nearly $1.9 million. “The final sale price and interest rate of the bonds will likely result in a slight adjustment to that amount,” Kuchta said. What are Jungle Jim’s plans for the Eastgate location? “Jungle Jim’s has disclosed See JUNGLE, Page A2 Vol. 33 No. 34 © 2013 The Community Press ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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