Dublin Villager

City Council Ward 4 race

Candidates say incentives OK, if used judiciously

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The candidates for the Ward 4 seat on Dublin City Council support using incentives to keep business and jobs in the city, as long as they're used wisely.

In the Nov. 5 election, incumbent Tim Lecklider will seek to retain his Ward 4 seat against challengers Kevin Cooper and JD Kaplan.

Although the Ward 4 candidates agree that utilizing incentives is wise to maintain a good business environment, Cooper sees incentives in other places.

"I'd argue (that) one of the best incentives for business to start-up or locate in Dublin is the quality of life," he said.

"Dublin is a safe community with an enormous amount of amenities such (as) 100 miles of bike paths, over 50 developed parks, public art, (an) award-winning recreation center and world-class events to name a few."

Lecklider has awarded incentives to several businesses in his three terms on council and supports their use.

"I certainly don't think they should be used in every instance or are the answer for every instance," he said.

"Unlike some other communities in central Ohio we don't offer to abate taxes," Lecklider said.

"When we do use these performance incentives, which is the tool we use most often, it can result in a 500- to 1,000-percent return on investment," he said.

"Simply put, if companies don't increase their payroll, they don't get incentives for that particular year."

Kaplan was also favorable to incentives, but called for checks.

"I feel the same about grants and performance incentives: As long as the citizens and the city of Dublin benefit from the incentives given to these companies (I support them)," Kaplan said.

"A yearly review should be put in place to make sure that the companies are meeting or exceeding their promises," he said.

"If all of this works out, then it could be a very positive thing for the citizens of Dublin."

As a former Dublin employee, Cooper said he's seen incentives in motion.

"I've seen first hand how our economic development team desires to attract and retain solid businesses and create an environment for entrepreneurs and start-ups businesses to setup a home base for their company," Cooper said.

"As our economic team will say, there's not a one-size-fits-all program or package," he said.

Kaplan also supports the use of Tax Increment Fin- ancing districts, if it's called for.

"Dublin is justified in using TIFs as long as they are being used for the good of the community. It is important to remember that the citizens of Dublin are paying the TIFs; therefore, they should benefit from them," he said.

To Lecklider, the incentives used by Dublin are better than tax abatements used by other communities.

"It's a philosophical distinction between us and other communities," Lecklider said.

"We adopted the position that we're simply not going to do that in an effort to attract companies. We use a more straight forward way of attracting companies to our community.

"It's directly related to that company's performance," Lecklider said. "It's not giving something up, as would be the case with abatements."

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