Friday, March 6, 2009

Not Worth Mentioning

Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt gave his annual State of the City Address this week, summarizing the current situation for the City, and his plan for going forward (full text of his speech available here).

Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of Mayor Schonhardt, because even when he says: "I'm proud of the record of this administration, where we genuinely live the theme of placing our citizens first," the evidence seems to be otherwise.

To be sure, a number of positive things have taken place during his administration, and he spells out many of them in his Address. Clearly the creation of Trueman Boulevard, the extension of Britton Parkway, and the widening of Rome-Hilliard Rd have all significantly enhanced traffic flows and opened up new areas for commercial development.

My criticism is, and has been, statements like this: "We have managed residential growth and increased the commercial tax based in the city." As I have said before, the Mayor seems to want to take responsibility for the nationwide collapse of the residential housing market – because that is what has limited development, not his actions. He knows this is the real truth - later in his speech he laments that "fees will be flat to negative because we won't have the demand for building permits," and in doing so he admits that the low volume of residential development is the result of a lack of demand, not his leadership.

Note that the Mayor made no mention – none whatsoever – of the nearly 1,000 acres that has, in the last couple of months, been annexed by the City of Hilliard for the purpose of residential development. For a Mayor who is not at all shy about tooting his own horn, why wouldn't this get a mention in his annual State of the City Address?

Perhaps it is because he knows it isn't a good thing, he can't defend it as being a good thing, and so would rather not bring this truth into the light. When the housing market recovers, this 1,000 acres will get covered with who knows how many new homes, creating costs for both the City and the School District which far exceeds the tax revenue necessary to support the requirements of those homeowners. That shortfall will be borne by all of us now living in, and operating businesses in the community, including those of us who live within the school district but outside the Hilliard city limits. We all suffer the consequences of the Mayor's ambitions whether or not his name was ever on our ballot.

So I don't believe the Mayor when he says: "I do care about what kind of community we leave for our children." His actions suggest that he has some other agenda which is the primary driver of his administration. I've long been interested in understanding what that is.


  1. It's so puzzling how he seems to be popular with Hilliard voters. I don't think he had an opponent during the last election. Somehow he reminds me of Boss Hogg of Dukes of Hazzard fame.

  2. Our mayor took the same credit in an article several weeks ago in the This Week newspaper. I responded with a Letter to the Editor which brought up the exact same points as Paul - basically - "it's the economy, stupid", not the mayors efforts. Unfortunately, they chose not to publish the letter, which is not unusual even though This Weeks editorial page says letters are welcome. I chose that venue since that is where the original article appeared. I will assume that the same type of article will appear in this weeks edition of Northwest News, and if if it does, some others from here might want to join me in a response.
    Great point brought up by Paul that the mayor seems to contradict
    his intentions. But not at all surprising. I have zero faith in the City Administrations efforts to cooperate with the School District - they obviously have different motivations and intentions. I just wish we really knew what the mayors are - I suspect that I, for one, do, thanks to Paul's insight over the last few months.