Dayton City Commission on Wednesday delayed plans to buy real estate at 101 Bainbridge St., just northeast of the Oregon District, after Mayor Gary Leitzell questioned why the city was involved in the deal.
An emergency ordinance on Wednesday’s agenda would have authorized the city to buy land there for $85,000 and convey it to Bacon Street Properties LLC, an entity formed by officers of nearby machine tool distributor Gosiger, according to Keith Klein, the city’s acting deputy director of economic development.
City Manager Tim Riordan said Wednesday that the city would charge the LLC “a minimal price” for the property, and that group would be responsible for paying delinquent real estate taxes. Riordan said the LLC would demolish buildings on site and consider converting one remaining building on site into housing, or using it for expansion of the business.
But Leitzell questioned some wording in the contract about tax responsibility and said he wasn’t comfortable passing the ordinance without more details. He also suggested that City Commissioner Nan Whaley abstain from any vote, since a developer involved in the project had donated to her campaign.
Whaley responded quickly, saying, “That’s not your decision, Mr. Mayor, and I would appreciate you not making those kinds of comments.”
Mark Dlott, a senior vice president with Cassidy Turley, donated $500 to Whaley in early 2012, but Ohio ethics laws do not require candidates to abstain from votes on ordinances affecting contributors.
Commissioner Joey Williams said he respected Leitzell’s points, but asked why the mayor waited until the meeting itself to raise the questions, when commissioners had received the documents Friday. Williams asked for “the common courtesy” to raise the issue sooner, in case the ordinance had been a true emergency.
Leitzell said he wasn’t able to read the documents until Tuesday night, and stayed up until 2 a.m. studying the details.
Klein said having the city release the property to Bacon Street Properties makes the city part of the title chain, making possible incentives and programs to develop the site, such as the use of Tax Increment Financing. TIFs use the increased property tax revenues caused by site improvements to pay off those improvements.
Gosiger released a statement saying it has been eyeing options for an expansion one day. “We are very encouraged by the city’s desire to work with us in addition to their endeavors in the surrounding neighborhood. We hope to continue our legacy of growth and expansion as part of the city’s revitalization efforts.”
The 1.1 acre property in question is north of Fourth and west of Bainbridge, Klein said, but does not include a corner parking lot.