Unspoken

Clint Eastwood may have his “Unforgiven” but Newark Ohio News Analysis has its “Unspoken.” The “Great Recession” (second only to the Great Depression of the 1930’s) officially ended in June of 2009. On June 1, 2009 the DOW closed at 8,721, the NASDAQ at 1,795 and the S&P at 942. Today, a little over five years after the end of the “Great Recession” the DOW is over 17,000 and growing, NASDAQ is flirting with 4,500 and the S&P hovers around 2,000. Obviously, there is money to be invested. Money is being invested. And money is being made on investments. That can’t be denied. In the June 22, 2014 Newark Advocate (Southgate Corp. Hopes To Attract Business) we are told “Southgate Corp. has started work on a 50,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on Kaiser Drive, its third such building in the last two years.” A little later on we read “Southgate has built more than 45 spec buildings, many in the Newark Industrial Park, in Hebron, since it began developing such sites.” Ten days prior to that, in the same paper we read: “The three applicants [the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, Southgate Corporation and ISO Technologies] seek100 percent tax abatements for all real property, after construction has finished, [Heath Zoning Chief John] Groff said.” Previously we have received a deluge of news reports with folks like Steve Layman and Liz Argyle stating that their investment dreams can only come true through various tax credits and abatements. Included with this is one of the bigger ongoing events and reported stories, tactfully flying under the radar of the only news reporting institution in town. Anecdotal reports along with various official studies show the city’s infrastructure, primarily roads and bridges, is woefully under maintained and deteriorating at a rate that makes it increasingly costly to revive. With the 6-22-14 Newark Advocate (What Is A Neighborhood), reporter Joe Williams cites that 49% of Newark residential real property is non-owner occupant. Coupled with commercial real property, that makes investment property one of the largest, if not the largest businesses in Newark. Infrastructure access, such as roads, water, sewer, and utilities, is what differentiates the appraised value (investment or otherwise) of rural farmland from industrial park or urban residential real property. To ameliorate the infrastructure demise, Newark mayor and council have embraced an income tax increase on all those who labor or reside in Newark. “Residents share frustration with Sunday transit cuts” was the headline of an Advocate July 17, 2014 article that covered the Licking County Transit Board’s informational meeting with regard to cutting back service. A plethora of figures were given regarding the thousands of users affected as well as the thousands of dollars projected to not having to be spent because of this. No figures were given, by The Advocate or by the Transit Board, with regard to how the service is currently actually funded. From their website informational brochure one learns that it receives funding from the US Department of Transportation, Ohio DOT, United Way, several Licking County social agency budgets (Developmental Disabilities, Jobs and Family Services, and Senior Citizens Levy), passenger fares, and the Licking County Commissioners. No figures for any of this are readily available on line. An online comment to this article from Nancy Williams Welu states “The county chips in $65,000 a year, which does not seem like much.” Nancy is probably right. “Grow Licking County is a public-private partnership that was started in 2012 and works out of the Chamber of Commerce offices [a private commercial enterprise] to bring jobs and industry to Licking County. The chamber, the port authority and the county are its founding and incorporating members. Hottinger serves as chairwoman; Platt is vice chairman. County Commissioner Tim Bubb serves on the board. While the county commissioners contributed $50,000 annually to the organization for its first two years and $80,000 this year, Hottinger asked the panel to commit to paying $220,000 each of the next three years to help fund its economic development efforts through 2017.” (“Grow Licking County seeks increased county aid” 6-13-14 the Newark Advocate).

The “Great Recession” (second only to the Great Depression of the 1930’s) officially ended in June of 2009. On June 1, 2009 the DOW closed at 8,721, the NASDAQ at 1,795 and the S&P at 942. Today, a little over five years after the end of the “Great Recession” the DOW is over 17,000 and growing, NASDAQ is flirting with 4,500 and the S&P hovers around 2,000. ““We’re just trying to find a way to survive and not go broke,” he [Licking County Transit Board Director, Grow Licking County board member, and County Commissioner Tim Bubb] said.” (“Transit Board may cut Sunday service” 7-10-14 Newark Advocate)

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