Whitehall News

With full council present, bank incentive deal poised to pass

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Whitehall City Council members were expected to meet in a special session Oct. 22 to consider measures that members were unable to adopt as an emergency Oct. 15.

One measure is an agreement to reimburse First Community Bank for improvements it has made to its facility to attract a new tenant, thus increasing the city's income-tax revenue.

The city would pay First Community Bank, 4300 E. Broad St., payments of $17,500 next year and in 2015 as partial reimbursement for improvements the bank has made to its facility.

Those improvements led to the bank obtaining a lease for a state agency to occupy two floors, bringing additional employees and income-tax revenues to the city, development director Zach Woodruff said.

Only four members were present Oct. 15. That's a quorum, but it wasn't enough to meet the two-thirds charter requirement required to approve emergency legislation.

Council members Chris Rodriguez, Van Gregg and Leslie LcCorte were absent Oct. 15.

"We could have passed the legislation, but it would not (have been immediately effective)," Council President Jim Graham said, so a special meeting was called for Oct. 22 to pass the it with an emergency clause.

Measures scheduled for a third and final reading Oct. 15 but postponed to Oct. 22 included an ordinance authorizing Mayor Kim Maggard to convey some land on Broadhurst Avenue to the Whitehall Community Improvement Corp.

The city purchased the residential property about 10 years ago, when crews discovered, while renovating and expanding the Whitehall Division of Fire, that underground gasoline tanks had contaminated the parcel adjacent to the fire department.

The property has been remediated, and the city has a potential buyer, Maggard said, but ownership of the parcel must be transferred to the CIC as part of the sale.

The ordinance approving the transfer was expected to pass Oct. 22.

Also expected to be approved Oct. 22 was an ordinance authorizing Maggard to enter into an economic development agreement with First Community Bank.

In action Oct. 15, council members passed an ordinance approving a special permit for Village Baptist Church, 4880 Langley Ave., to conduct worship services at the site.

Village Baptist Church constructed additional buildings at its site for classroom use and required a special permit for worship services at the additional structures.

On Nov. 5, council will consider authorizing the expenditure of $128,000 from the law-enforcement trust fund for the renovation of the property room at the Whitehall Division of Police and an ordinance approving a payroll agreement with Priority Designs, a business relocating from Gahanna to occupy the former Bill Swad Chevrolet dealership at 100 S. Hamilton Road.

Priority Designs is expected to purchase the former 5.5-acre automotive site for $475,000 from Whitehall and then invest about $3 million to improve the site, Woodruff said.

He said the company has about 55 employees and a total annual payroll of $4 million and is expected to expand operations at the site. The company is a product design firm whose clients include Electrolux and Lowe's.

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