Berger takes swipe at AEDG, county


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



BERGER’S COMMENTS

Read Mayor David Berger’s full statement on page 4C.

“For over a year now, my office has endured divisive political attacks waged against the City’s performance across multiple platforms by county officials and the Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG Quite frankly, this barrage of accusations are from some of the same voices we heard during the campaign season, and it is time that we roll the credits on this political theater.

To suggest that the City is in the way of economic development is both insulting and untrue. In fact, it was the work of myself and my administration that resulted in the creation of some of the most aggressive development tools being promoted by my critics including Makerfest, Link Lima, Husky’s most recent $2.3M acquisition, and the launch of the Allen County Land Bank. In addition, the City’s work is fostering Rhodes’ $20M investment in the Downtown, the National Bank Building’s $17M renovation, the Hall of Justice’s $2M renovation, a new $2M Lima Stadium Park, and the new $13M Dominion corporate campus. In fact, according to Lima Building and Construction Trades Council, an estimated $275 Million Dollars were invested in the Lima community in 2017. These investments included capital projects at Husky and PCS, and a new perfume building at Procter & Gamble— all projects that were professionally handled by the Lima /Allen County Building Department with hands on, direct and positive customer service. Our energies and efforts should be focused on promoting the economic opportunities and welfare of working families in Lima /Allen County.

Creating economic opportunities for local residents in Lima and Allen County demands our attention and our focus. When low-wage workers get a raise, they spend it on basic services or necessities. This creates a positive ripple effect that results in the demand for goods and services, benefits business owners, creates opportunities for residents, provides economic security for families, and creates profit and investment opportunities for developers.

Yet our County Commissioners and regionally focused economic development group would rather spend taxpayer dollars on consultants to promote political propaganda? They would rather cut funding for public transportation and leave countless Allen County residents disconnected from opportunity? Once again, our county officials have missed the bus.

The future of our city depends on our leadership. I will no longer engage in these emotionally charged conversations about the Lima /Allen County Building Department and will instead continue to focus on the real lives of real people. We will cease spending staff time on mollification of the prejudices of Mr. Noonan and Mr. Sprague. Doing so impedes economic development and progress for the entire region.

I want to ensure the taxpayers of Lima that, unlike Commissioner Noonan, I am unwilling to throw away taxpayer money in an attempt to continue to sow discontent between governmental entities. And I will say to the critics and dissenting voices - The election is over. The community has spoken. Let’s move on. We need a different conversation, one that encourages partnership and collaboration, while searching for practical solutions. We need to talk to each other, to learn from each other, to focus on how we surmount the significant challenges we continue to face as a region. Our improving economy will only be harmed by this ongoing inflamed deception by the Commissioners and AEDG.”

LIMA — “It is time that we roll the credits on this political theater.”

That was just one sentence in Mayor David Berger’s three-page response to news that Allen Economic Development Group President/CEO Jeff Sprague and Allen County officials will be pursuing a third-party survey using an outside consultant to prove that the city’s building department is holding back economic development efforts.

“The future of our city depends on our leadership,” the release reads. “I will no longer engage in these emotionally charged conversations about the Lima/Allen County Building Department and will instead continue to focus on the real lives of real people. We will cease spending staff time on mollification of the prejudices of Mr. Noonan and Mr. Sprague. Doing so impedes economic development and progress for the entire region.”

Disagreements over the City of Lima’s building department began after Sprague, Allen County Commissioners Jay Begg and Cory Noonan and Shawnee Township Trustee Chris Seddelmeyer cited frustrations with the city’s inspection services during a visit to Miami County’s Building Department.

Soon after, Sprague, Begg and Noonan met with Director of Public Works Howard Elstro and Chief Building Official Amy Harpster to discuss possible solutions to those frustrations. Both parties left the meeting agreeing that the building department was “perceived” to hold up development and construction, but both also intended to conduct surveys that would reveal the truth behind the perception.

The city released the results of its two-week survey Thursday. It gave favorable remarks to the department’s performance. Sprague and the commissioners have yet to conduct their survey, but Sprague said they would use a third-party group.

Berger’s recent statement pokes at the political ramifications of the dispute. Republicans hold the totality of county seats. Berger and his administration are Democrats.

“I want to ensure the taxpayers of Lima that, unlike Commissioner Noonan, I am unwilling to throw away taxpayer money in an attempt to continue to sow discontent between governmental entities. And I will say to the critics and the dissenting voices — The election is over. The community has spoken. Let’s move on.”

A response to Berger’s statement was released late Friday.

“We are extremely disappointed that Mayor David Berger would call for partnership and collaboration while releasing a statement on a Friday afternoon without any attempt in contacting the County Commissioners or the Allen Economic Development Group. The fabricated points outlined in the press release deserve a fact-based thorough response, which will be forthcoming. All the citizens of Lima/Allen County deserve the facts.”

The statement is signed by Sprague, Begg, Noonan, Allen County Commissioner Greg Sneary and Allen County Treasurer Rachael Gilroy.

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By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

BERGER’S COMMENTS

Read Mayor David Berger’s full statement on page 4C.

“For over a year now, my office has endured divisive political attacks waged against the City’s performance across multiple platforms by county officials and the Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG Quite frankly, this barrage of accusations are from some of the same voices we heard during the campaign season, and it is time that we roll the credits on this political theater.

To suggest that the City is in the way of economic development is both insulting and untrue. In fact, it was the work of myself and my administration that resulted in the creation of some of the most aggressive development tools being promoted by my critics including Makerfest, Link Lima, Husky’s most recent $2.3M acquisition, and the launch of the Allen County Land Bank. In addition, the City’s work is fostering Rhodes’ $20M investment in the Downtown, the National Bank Building’s $17M renovation, the Hall of Justice’s $2M renovation, a new $2M Lima Stadium Park, and the new $13M Dominion corporate campus. In fact, according to Lima Building and Construction Trades Council, an estimated $275 Million Dollars were invested in the Lima community in 2017. These investments included capital projects at Husky and PCS, and a new perfume building at Procter & Gamble— all projects that were professionally handled by the Lima /Allen County Building Department with hands on, direct and positive customer service. Our energies and efforts should be focused on promoting the economic opportunities and welfare of working families in Lima /Allen County.

Creating economic opportunities for local residents in Lima and Allen County demands our attention and our focus. When low-wage workers get a raise, they spend it on basic services or necessities. This creates a positive ripple effect that results in the demand for goods and services, benefits business owners, creates opportunities for residents, provides economic security for families, and creates profit and investment opportunities for developers.

Yet our County Commissioners and regionally focused economic development group would rather spend taxpayer dollars on consultants to promote political propaganda? They would rather cut funding for public transportation and leave countless Allen County residents disconnected from opportunity? Once again, our county officials have missed the bus.

The future of our city depends on our leadership. I will no longer engage in these emotionally charged conversations about the Lima /Allen County Building Department and will instead continue to focus on the real lives of real people. We will cease spending staff time on mollification of the prejudices of Mr. Noonan and Mr. Sprague. Doing so impedes economic development and progress for the entire region.

I want to ensure the taxpayers of Lima that, unlike Commissioner Noonan, I am unwilling to throw away taxpayer money in an attempt to continue to sow discontent between governmental entities. And I will say to the critics and dissenting voices - The election is over. The community has spoken. Let’s move on. We need a different conversation, one that encourages partnership and collaboration, while searching for practical solutions. We need to talk to each other, to learn from each other, to focus on how we surmount the significant challenges we continue to face as a region. Our improving economy will only be harmed by this ongoing inflamed deception by the Commissioners and AEDG.”

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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