February 8, 2016

EDITORIAL: Edgerton council, school board handled IRB issuance poorly

The city of Edgerton has grossly missed the mark when it comes to the issuance of $500 million in industrial revenue bonds for facilities to be constructed in the KC Logistics Park.
The council approved the issuance of the IRBs, which would translate into a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement, at its July 8 meeting, but only after sarcastic, almost condescending remarks from Scott Anderson, bond counsel with Kutak Rock LLC.

Anderson told the council it was “contractually obligated” to approve a resolution of intent on the issue – in essence, saying ‘yes’ to the IRB issuance. He said council members could discuss the topic and take action on it later, but that action had to be taken on the issue eventually.

Perhaps the council should have indeed waited on approving the resolution. Council President Clay Longanecker was absent from the meeting, and City Administrator David Dillner had handed council members an incomplete cost benefit analysis shortly before the meeting started. Thus, council members did not even have complete information in front of them on which to base an educated decision. The council should have tabled action on the resolution until all council members could attend the next meeting and have time to review the complete cost benefit analysis.

The fact that Anderson made his comments directly before a public hearing on the issuance of the bonds is even more disturbing. By essentially saying Edgerton was contractually bound to issue a resolution of intent, there seems to be little point in encouraging public discussion. If the decision had already been made, there likely wasn’t much residents could say to sway council members one way or another. There is little reason to have a public hearing if it is treated as a mere legal formality and not an exchange of opinions and ideas.

We also are disappointed to see the absence of representatives from USD 231 from Edgerton council meetings until now. Although we applaud Superintendent Bill Gilhaus’ statements to the governing body, we believe they have come too little, too late. If the school district had been actively participating in discussions and action surrounding the KC Logistics Park, there would be no need to make an 11th-hour appeal to council on behalf of the Gardner and Edgerton taxpayers who will foot this gargantuan bill. We hope Dr. Gilhaus and other school district representatives will learn from this meeting and make their presence known at future IRB meetings as buildings await construction.

If the events of the July 8 meeting are any indication of how the city of Edgerton and the school district are poised to handle the arrival of the largest project in the state, we are concerned for area residents and the management of their tax dollars.


  1. Great points Corbin. I’ve been concerned ever since we handed the deal to Edgerton and lost any say in the process.

  2. Judithe says:

    Corbin, you are much too, too, too nice but that is okay.

    First of all I don’t feel sorry for those Council members not receiving the benefit analysis reports until only minutes before the meeting. If they had been any kind of decent representatives of the people they would have had those reports weeks ago by asking or demanding to have them and certainly demanding a better independent report and not one submitted by a belly-up developer which bought and paid for the analysis. But they are not representatives of the people – they work for BNSF and the Allen Group and other special interests and they rubber stamped that deal long, long before that dog and pony show and in some closed door back room just like Lehman and Drovetta did in 2005 in my opinion and they don’t qualify the stupid project in any way, shape or form to protect the people’s interests – they are rotten to the core politicians.

    I have been wrangling with the School District for YEARS on this issue and other sweet deals that totally financially rape the people – they very well know what is going on but they, too, are worthless politicians for the people and go along to get along. I walked with that school board for miles and miles and years trying to get them to do the right thing but they would have none of it. If they showed up at any meeting or answered to any tax incentive deal placed before them, it is because they had to be dragged to the table.

    This kind of bull hockey has been going on for years across the nation but the people still support and vote for these jaybirds who are putting the knife into their backs time and time again. You might want to get off your rearends, get decent people to run for office and then support them and if they don’t stay decent, kick them out of office.

    Just this week I have been going around and around with the Gardner City Council on that Century Link contract that was slipped through Tuesday of last week under the consent agenda. Another instance where they certainly, even the clergyman on the Council, aren’t providing the checks and balances they should be providing for companies and the people on contracts involving the city and outside companies. Until the people start taking a concentrated interest in their local government you will continue to be paying a very high price for your cronyism government or perhaps it is coming to the point of a corrupt government for all I know.

    The blame for the crud going on is far and wide.

  3. gardner2 says:

    Boo to Edgerton, Boo to USD 231!

    BOO BOO BOO to the people for not caring enough!!

  4. Joke 1040 Form of the 1980’s- Line 1:How much did you make last year? Line 2: Send it all in.

    1040 Form 2010: becoming more and more a reality of the joke form.

  5. Read the following today by a fellow citizen and I do agree. BNSF wanted to own Gardner, however, they now own Edgerton but other corporations own Gardner.

    “When a taxpaying citizen has to donate to a corporation to keep jobs in-state you have created the modern-day version of the company store, a revolving door of permanent indebtedness.

    It’s akin to sharecropping, tenant farming in the city. By late 1800s robber barons — 2010 style.

    Repeating past mistakes isn’t practical. It’s blatant stupidity and lack of historical knowledge.”

  6. gardner2 says:

    Tin Hat, private enterprise pays people to work and give opportunities for people to earn their own living. The government charges corporations, and people, way too much tax. Tax incentives are good ways to keep businesses able to compete in a global economy.

    The BNSF, Coleman, Walmart or Dolphin Song aren’t to blame for the troubles of USD 231, the government is. Take it up with Dillner, Glihaus and the rest. They are the ones you should be throwing your blame at.

  7. Going, going, going, gone!!!! gardner2 has bought the propaganda – he has got to be some special interest leeching off of the people.

    The people create jobs by buying a company’s goods and/or services. The people also allow a business to be viable by being excellent, intelligent and loyal employees. No business I have ever worked for or supported has brought more to the table than myself. I gave 100% to the businesses I worked for and I helped make that business a success. And I didn’t do any more than millions of other employees have done. I made every opportunity that was offered to me because if I hadn’t offered a good deal for an employer, the opportunity would not have been presented to me.

    You, gardner2, put the people on SALE every day of the week and support every corporation to become a company store which sucks the blood out of every citizen involved.

    The government might charge too much tax like our local Gardner city government does due to their cronyism government and inept fiscal responsbility because these slimeball corporations have no intentions of paying taxes if they can get out of it. Wake up and smell the stench, gardner2 but I think you are too busy kissing rearends to do that.

  8. Ryan, you do realize that no matter if Gardner or Edgerton city controlled the project, the school district is still the largest taxing entity and would have still suffered a loss? I’m pretty sure school districts don’t have any say in the abatement process. That’s according to state statute. Are you concerned enough to call your school and ask if anything can be done? Or are you content to sit back and place blame?

  9. If the project would have stayed in Gardner the abatement would have been 10% more for the USD231.

    I get frustrated with appointed and elected officials who expect people to come to them for answers to questions. Can you imagine if 10% of Gardner was paying attention to this, the school board would take their phone off the hook because of so many calls.

    There are plenty of media outlets that would love to pass along information to the public, why doesn’t someone from the school board let us know their concerns and the details to the issues? Just a thought.

  10. It would also help (not really) to hear the comments from the worthless politicians who vote for these abatements knowing full well how it will adversely affect the citizens who elected them to office to protect their interests. If you think you will get a straight answer from the school district or the city halls, I think you are kidding yourself – you will get the same ole rationalization and manipulation of facts to achieve their goals which is to go along with the cronyism government that the special interests want and need and many times what they want. The only way I see this problem will ever be solved is to get decent people to run for office and support them who will in turn get decent people in city administrative positions. The people need someone in their city halls including city administation who are working for THEM and not the special interests. The way it is now the people are constantly having to play watchdog on these jaybirds, putting out fires that these jerks create and being a wizard as to what is the next deal they are going to try to cram down your throut that they want you to pay for and always digging for information because these public servants are never forthcoming with full information – you have to ask every question you can think of and then worry about what you haven’t asked because these people won’t be forthcoming or show any signs of honesty, integrity, ethics, character, etc.

    It appears the people have to be watchdogs of the elected officials who in turn have to be watchdogs of the city administration and make sure the people are in the front seat rather than the trunk – it is apparent this has not occurred – many people not doing their jobs and they should be held accountable and responsible. Will you as a citzen start doing your job?????

  11. gardner2 says:

    Dear Concerned Citizen,

    Judith is jaded. Her life is wrapped up in an illusion of self worth. I beg each citizen in Gardner to take the opposite approach of Judith. We need people involved in the process. It is tough to get our representatives to listen and to fight for us but unless we engage them it will never happen.

    Throwing in the towel as Judith has done should not be an option. Throwing everyone under the bus and discounting all our elected leaders doesn’t help. We need all hands on deck to protect our City, our children and our taxes. It may be difficult but we can all make a difference.

  12. Ryan – 10 percent more of a net loss is still a loss. Doesn’t matter if you’re losing 40 cents on the dollar, or 50 cents, you’re still in the hole. Either way anyone in the school district is going to see a large tax increase for at least 10 years.

  13. Wendy, you are so right. Perhaps gardner2 wasn’t engaging his elected officials as he should have to avoid this or perhaps he doesn’t want to hold anyone responsible or accountable…………….

    Citizens will continue to pay through the nose if not on school taxes then other items like they are now – cronyism government and elected officials and government workers not held accountable by the citizens will keep you digging deeper in your pocket, etc.

  14. “Dillner understands that the school district has concerns about the way the project is back loaded.

    “The cost-benefit analysis did not show that they’re losing money,” Dillner said. “They’re just not gaining as much as the other taxing entities. The way these projects are typically implemented all the infrastructure is up front. Unfortunately, that means the taxing entities are back-end loaded.”

    The analysis suggests the district will earn approximately $99 million in taxes and additional school funding as a result of the project, but will have to spend more than that on the new students generated by the facility.”

    Some quotes from Dillner. Do we REALLY know how many students are going to come because of the new facility? Do we REALLY have any solid numbers and evidence to go on? Lots of guessing and then lots of arguing over the guessing.

  15. Does anyone feel these benefit analysis reports are viable? Have the reports been checked for accuracy on data used? Does anyone have a comfort level with these reports? All the systems guy could do is put in all of his hold harmless statements about the accuracy of the data used and he had to use duct tape to even get the software program to spit out the reports.

    In the meantime, the elected officials couldn’t sign on the dotted line fast enough. The deal was made a long time ago by representatives without a conscience. THEY DON’T WORK FOR YOU!!!!

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  17. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Regarding Judithe’s July 14 comment at 8:43 am:

    According to the July 6 Gardner City Council agenda, the soon to expire multi-year agreements with Century Link for the City’s T-1 phone line and T-2 data line were renegotiated to cut budget expenses. City staff also negotiated a “bundled block of time” for long distance charges resulting in another significant cost reduction. The new 36-month contracts are estimated to save the City $11,300 annually. The City Council approved the agreements by unanimous consent.

  18. I guess Ryan you are a gambler and willing to take a chance on how many students come. I think what they’re trying to explain to you is that if the district does receive 99 million, they’ll have to spend nearly twice that to build the infrastructure. Where is the difference going to come from? If there are more students, the cost is higher, not lower. If you are wanting the project at any cost, that’s fine. I have to struggle to pay taxes on my home, and with the city projecting a 6 mil increase, state sales tax increase, and all other taxing groups increasing, I can’t afford to gamble. As to Dillner’s statements, if you take the time to visit with him, you’ll see he is in way over his head. I doubt he knows what backloaded means.

  19. Mr. Kellogg: I believe you are giving information on the Century Link contract which has been supplied to you by the city. Is that correct? When they gave me that story of how they saved the citizens $11,300 annually, my reply to them was: it appears to me Century Link has been gigging the people for that amount each year for who knows how many years.

    Please do what I did and contact the Time Warner representative who was used on this contract and get that person’s documentation of what occurred and you will be getting a different story and how much money could have been saved for the citizens and also look at the services that each company would be providing.

    I do not believe Mayor Drovetta and city administration followed written policy and procedure. I believe the good ole manipulation game was played once again to get them the results they wanted and to once again practice their cronyism government that has been practiced so long and is so embedded in our city’s structure.

    I do hope you went the long mile and got both sides of the story and did your OWN research.

  20. Ryan, I bet your wife pays the bills. I appreciate your comments, but you seem a little out of the loop.

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