December 26, 2015
“The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.” – Calvin Coolidge
We have listened to members of the JDA tell us that there is still plenty of land left at Stanton Springs to recoup the huge losses they are willing to take on a land deal they have agreed to. All they have to do is sell the commercial and industrial land. Isn’t that what they hired TPA to do years ago?
THE JDA “OFFICIAL LINE” ABOUT THE SALE
Alan Verner, Chair of JDA and Morgan County member says, “The JDA has approved this after a long study of it. We think it’s in our best interest at this time.” He is quoted in a recent article in the Morgan County Citizen.
Land deal stalls, December 23, 2015- By Tia Lynn Ivey
Andy Ainslie, Chair of the Morgan County BOC is also quoted in the article; he said, “There’s over 1600 acres of land and this portion of the land, minus the 40 acres we requested to be rezoned, was always intended to become a site of residential development. …. but that money would be recouped through the higher price the industrial and commercial portion of the land would yield.”
Steve Jordan, JDA Treasurer and Jasper County member, says in a recent article in the Newton Citizen, “Most of the approximately 1,600 acres in Stanton Springs is owned by the JDA.” “We still have 1,000 acres after this (sale),” Jordan said.
And Carl Pennamon, Jasper County member, also told the Jasper County BOC that this loss would be made up with the sale of other land.
HOW MUCH LAND IS REALLY LEFT IN STANTON SPRINGS?
The Stanton Springs development started out with 1616 acres of land. Over the years TPA, JC Flex, and affiliated LLC’s have bought 421 through December 2014. That leaves 1195.
Baxter bought or somehow obtained 160 acres. That leaves 1035 acres.
Kippy Clarke plans to purchase 536 acres, 55 of which are owned by J.C. Flex. That is 481 acres JDA will sell. That leaves 554 acres of land. NOT 1000 acres, unless of course there is more that the citizens just don’t know or they are counting land JC Flex owns.
EACH MEMBER OF JDA TELLS THE SAME STORY
This is bad land. This is the worse part of the land. This is the best we can do. So we are going to take next to nothing, make more promises to the taxpayers, and hope we can sell what we have left without ripping off the taxpayers further. But no one knows the future, the economy, the blah, blah, blah….so we just have to do this!
WE HAVE ASKED THE QUESTION BEFORE AND ASK IT AGAIN—WHY?
· Why can’t JDA wait for a better deal, just like the taxpayers of the 4 counties have been waiting for 14+ years for a return on their money?
· Why is TPA getting 1/2 the proceeds, giving them almost $2M while JDA ends up with $832,000 and a loss of $5.7M?
· Why can’t the JDA answer real questions with real answers instead of scripted answers that don’t add up?
CITIZEN COMMENT SUMS IT UP
Recently there was a citizen comment on this “deal” that says what many others are saying and thinking.
“They have been collecting tax for 11 years and now no one knows how the tax is supposed to be divided between the 4 JDA counties. They are bringing in not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 but 5 lawyers to help figure it out. In the meantime the Newton County Chairman is running around telling the Newton Tax Commissioner to write checks to the other counties before it is known how much is supposed to go to each county. Then we have these same people (who for 11 years do not know how to divide tax) who want to be in real estate and sell land for half of what the taxpayers paid for it. After which they want to turn around and use most if not all of that to help the shady developer with a track record of liens. Lastly the attorney with his hands in most of this is resigning effective the end of the year. Anyone besides me see the need of an independent investigation of the JDA at the demand of the taxpayers in the 4 counties? Where the entire JDA is turned over, shook around to see what falls out?”
The Newton County representatives have resigned. The Newton County attorney, Tommy Craig, who was also the JDA attorney has resigned. The citizens in the 4 counties are asking questions that are not being answered.
There are two things that must be done. 1. An independent audit of the JDA books—something that has never been done since its inception. 2. A “NO” vote by the Newton County BOC to put an end to this taxpayer rip-off.
Hold the BOC in your county accountable for this waste of taxpayers’ money by the people they appointed to serve on the JDA.
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