Joe Motil

Former Columbus City Council candidate Joe Motil, who for several years has been Columbus’s most outspoken critic of the Mayor and City Council’s blanket tax abatement policies, states that, “You can certainly tell that the Columbus City Council election is over and it’s back to business as usual. It has been nine months since a $54 million tax abatement was handed out to an unknown data center operator. Heaven forbids that such an outrageous one night of nine unjustified tax abatements of just over $55 million be given out during the election season that could give an opponent and the media something of concern to bring to light to the voters of Columbus. Well, I guess we can only hope that they will be enlightened by this historic moment this evening of continued thievery by the mayor and city council members of our property tax revenues.”                   

Motil states that it has been reported that, “Central Ohio’s warehouse market was so hot last year that the only impediment developers saw as of January was a shortage of available land.” A warehouse firm executive stated, “there is tremendous demand for warehouse distribution centers.”  

“Columbus’s warehouse vacancy rate hit an all-time low at 2.78% and at Rickenbacker the vacancy rate is 1.53%. Rickenbacker has set records recently for cargo coming in and setting records even during the height of COVID. And why? Location, location, location. As I have testified a million times before because Columbus is within a 10 hours’ drive for  47% of the U.S. population and 33% of Canada’s. The highly respected economic research firm Colliers reported that in the Columbus area, 'developers cannot build fast enough to keep up with the demand  of industrial  construction.' Officials claim that 'the only impediment developers saw was a shortage of available land.' The Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville I-71 corridor is even referred to as 'the heart of e- commerce.' Doesn’t this evidence send the message to any one of you that the developers of the risk-free logistics centers at Rickenbacker and elsewhere in Columbus  don’t need a tax break?”

Motil says, “Buckeye XO LLC is seeking 8 tax incentive handouts totaling $52.8 million in property tax abatements which according to my figures will result in roughly a $20 million defunding of public educational dollars in  Franklin County over a ten-year period. Buckeye is claiming that they will create 527 $15 an hour jobs that will result in $411,060 in annual income tax revenue or $4.11 million over 10 years. That’s 52.8 million in tax breaks for $4.11 million in city income tax revenue over 10 years. You call that bargain?”

Motil further states that, “I find  Director Stevens’s comment in Columbus Business First related to tonight’s tax abatements interesting. He says, 'We’re focusing on incentivizing areas in our community where we have higher unemployment or limited workforce participation, because jobs aren’t there.' I wouldn’t exactly claim that Trabue-Roberts Road is such an area, especially with the Wagenbreener Quarry project just a couple miles away where he is selling tax abated condos and homes between $450,000 and $900,000.”

Motil concluded, “So once again, because the city of Columbus is about 80% reliant on city income tax revenue to fill the coffers of its billion dollar plus budget, sacrificing millions in much needed property tax revenues that pay for public education, children services, public libraries, those with disabilities, ADAMH, Metro parks, and senior services are all  apparently secondary to the social needs of Franklin County and Columbus’s underserved citizens. Along with defunding and disinvesting of educational opportunities of  Columbus Public School students including the 61% of those students who are black and multi racial. Whatever happened to the resolution that stated racism is a public health crisis? Is it on some empty bookshelf like other resolutions along with your case studies that claim increasing the supply of market rate housing will help solve the affordable housing crisis?”