February 6, 2016

City officials will continue to consider incentives for Zimmer property

Danedri Thompson
Gardner City Council members agreed to continue discussions with Zimmer Real Estate Services about a possible abatement and incentives related to a proposed warehouse at 183rd and Waverly Road.
The city’s tax abatement policy offers up to 50 percent in abatements for capital investments of more than $1.5 million. Zimmer estimates its Big Industrial warehouse development would be worth approximately $40 million.
The property is contiguous with the city of Edgerton, whose abatement policy allows abatements of up to 75 percent. However Gardner Community Development Director Mike Hall told Gardner council members during a Sept. 3 work session that Edgerton and Gardner abatement policies are roughly equal when all fees are considered. Edgerton’s abatement policy is equal to a 52.5 percent abatement in Gardner.
“The real issue is paving Waverly Road,” Hall said.
Zimmer has requested that Gardner pave Waverly Road to heavy haul standards, an expensive proposition estimated at $4.5 million.
“We do not have the funds to pay for Waverly Road,” Hall told council members.
He suggested that the city could request CARS funding. The grant funding would pay for half the cost of construction, but Gardner would still need to fund the other half as well as design and engineering plans.
Council member Steve Shute said the developer, Zimmer, is attempting to leverage Gardner against Edgerton. The two cities debated an annexation agreement a few years ago, but never came to terms. However, a Waverly Road boundary was frequently discussed. Officials kicked around jointly funding maintenance and construction of the road, but discussions were dropped years ago and have not been re-instated.
In the meantime, Edgerton has annexed a portion of land east of Waverly Road at 191st Street.
Zimmer has also requested that trucks be allowed to utilize 183rd Street until Waverly Road can be paved.
Cheryl Harrison-Lee, city administrator, said the request is for temporary access.
“But in this case, temporary is a long time,” she said.
City staff estimates it will take up to two years to plan and construct upgrades to Waverly Road. In the meantime, truck traffic would be diverted through a residential neighborhood.
That is a deal breaker for at least one council member.
“We are absolutely not going to have trucks in residential neighborhoods,” council member Larry Fotovich said. “…That’s off the table.”
Harrison-Lee said Edgerton’s agreement with the intermodal developers requires that they pave Waverly Road once 1.5 million square feet of warehouses are built.
“The incentive for them to do it early really isn’t there,” Harrison-Lee said. “They would probably not be inclined to do it early.”
Fotovich said the city is sitting in the best position possible.
“We just need to leverage it,” he said.
He said he would prefer retail on that property and suggested that maybe the city should consider offering abatements for desired development there. He added he’d likely vote against offering incentives, however.
Council member Heath Freeman said paving the road opens up the eastern part of Waverly Road to development. It also offers Gardner control of what development locates there.
“I think I’d be willing to go to Zimmer and see what they’re willing to do on the road,” Shute said. “If they want to develop there, they’re going to have to pitch in for Waverly Road.”
In other business, council members:
• named Kimberly LeRoy as city clerk.
• authorized an escrow agreement for the acquisition of right-of-way near Gardner Municipal Airport for future expansion.
• authorized an acceptance agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for right-of-way at Gardner Municipal Airport.
• recognized outgoing city attorney Jim Hubbard.
• approved a general retailer’s liquor license for Celebrity’s to sell cereal malt beverages at 405 E. Main Street.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Wonder what the School Board’s response is to giving this incentive? – Are you holding your breath for that one? I wouldn’t be. If it is like the Kimberly-Clark tax incentive, they could very well be talking out of two sides of their mouths so they don’t have any credibility just like you don’t have any credibility at the city level – in other words they would just as soon lie to you as look at you and you can also lie by omission but they don’t think that counts. Talking out of two sides of mouths is very prevalent here in Gardner and across the land.

    Since Day 1 of being on the Council Heath Freeman makes it very clear who he works for and I bet the thieves are loving him both within the city personnel and outside of City Hall. I tell you one thing, if that city throws another huge costly burden onto me as a taxpayer for that horror story, annexes that land and brings about tremendous costs in the future plus other huge adverse affects, I will not be liking it but most of them at City Hall on that Council really don’t care whether I like it not – they don’t work for me, an average citizen. They will just give me the middle finger again and keep on doing what they always do and that is screw the average citizen big time.

  2. Waiting to see if you call out Fotovich and call him a thief for recommending offering retail abatements for the property Zimmer wants. He’d be stealing from the taxpayers if he did. So where’s the beef, Judith?

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    I sent an e-mail to the city of Gardner just a few days ago inquiring if the thieves are requesting industrial revenue bonds for this project, the total amount of the bonds, a breakdown of where the money will go and how long they are requesting to repay the bonds. Haven’t got an answer to that question yet and you sure haven’t heard them talking about that possible financing have you? And, of course, we still have not heard as to how the School Board responded to the incentives the thieves want. The usual silence and secrets of our government entities brought about by years of years of practice by them and the citizens allowing it to happen time and time again.

    It will be quite clear, to anyone with a brain, as to whose interests will be protected when the final sweet deal, which will or should make it very clear as to who is going to pay for all of the costs and who is going to endure all of the adverse affects, is on the table and as to how each Council member votes. It will be very, very clear then who EACH of those Council members work for regardless of all of the propaganda and rhetoric that more than likely will be knee deep as it is every day.

  4. Duck the question, Judith? Uncomfortable when one of your cronies on the council wants to offer incentives. I thought you were against incentives, Judith? Or do you support them only when Fotovich suggests them?

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    Fotovich is not one of my cronies – he is his own man and will vote according to his own conscience and as you very well know, I am totally against incentives. Citizens continue to see how cowardly and trouble making Nonamers are…………the slime and crime that I so abhor. Day in and day out they are examples of ignorance, fear and regression and we have them by the bucketful in our government halls of shame and our general population.

  6. And I quote: “What goes around, comes around………..and citizens are paying buco bucks for this conniving, manipulating, corrupt government…”

    Lifted from one of your recent posts, Judith, complaining about tax incentives. But when your pal Larry Fotovich suggests tax incentives, he’s “his own man”? By your logic, and your frequent condemnations, he’s conniving, manipulative, and corrupt, right? Because he wants incentives? Why aren’t you against Larry’s incentives, giving freebies away to retail corporations? Why isn’t he slimy and crimy like anyone else you keep whining at about selling out to the big boys?

  7. Our school district taxes are not high because of abatement’s. Even with abatement Coleman is contributing 1.2% of our district tax revenue. With abatement’s the projects built in the next few years as a result of the Intermodal will add over 10% to our tax base.

    Our mil levies and associated taxes are high because our district debt is over $22,000 per child. To put this in perspective that is over $300,000 per classroom.

    We are adding capacity before our buildings are full and spending money to remodel buildings without adding capacity. Most districts take capacity to over 100% before they build. As long as the voters continue to vote for bond issues the school board will continue to build.

    It would be great if our school board members would manage to keep district debt under $20,000 per kid. These types of management objectives should be key factors the board is evaluating in their decision process.

  8. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Tom, if it was up to you those classrooms would not be filled since in September, 2006 you told me: “I am not concerned with kids dropping out of school because WE need more unskilled labor”. That statement coming from a past School Board President.

    If Coleman and a whole bunch of other thieves were paying their FULL taxes and not asking citizens to pay their development costs and all kinds of other costs plus line their pockets in the process, the citizens would have lots of money for the needs of the community and we could probably lower our taxes.

    Every time I review one of those fraudulent “farm” appraised properties with practically all of them owned by a LLC or LP and I see the millions/billion dollars of lost tax revenue, I KNOW citizens would be better off if the thieves were not allowed to connive and manipulate the system for their advantage. It especially irks my soul when I see these thieves living in their sprawling mansions in Leawood, Mission Hills, etc. These jokers have never seen a tax they want or willingly pay – as ole Helmsley, the hotel magnate, used to say: “Only the little people pay taxes”.

    Lots of reasons for our high taxes and much of it is due to taking care of the thieving takers and the huge debts forced upon citizens by slimy politicians and bureaucrats who work for all kinds of thieves instead of the loyal, hardworking, responsible citizens who always pay their FULL taxes as they should.

    I certainly didn’t vote for that last school bond issue and I don’t believe I will ever be voting for another one in this district. That is a first for me during all of my years of supporting education but when I see the way this school district is run and how the city of Gardner also operates, I cannot see anything there that deserves my support.

    When those thieves come before any government entity with their hand out, there is a reason for it regardless of all of the propaganda and rhetoric put out there by people like Mertz and that reason is to take care of their own greedy interests.

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