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McWhinney Proposal Requires Loveland Council To Bend Over Backwards
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Amending the MFA (Master Financing Agreement) between McWhinney and the City of Loveland is a delicate task given the history of this controversial agreement. The MFA is the binding agreement where Loveland's City Council gave-up 25 years of sales and property tax revenue to the McWhinney controlled Metro District.



Now McWhinney is asking that the agreement be again amended to allow greater flexibility in designating new properties as part of the redevelopment Metro District or urban renewal authority while allowing them to drop others.



The rub is redevelopment agencies are intended to assist redevelopment of existing areas of town suffering from blight. Therefore, the City Council (according to State law) must first declare any newly acquired properties by McWhinney near the Outlet Malls, Co's BMW and along highway 34 as officially suffering from "blight" before they can be included in the metro district. Since these properties are likely to be first developed, it means the Council is giving away possibly millions of dollars in future revenue for the City of Loveland without really trying to solve existing blight. Blight is defined not only as the individual property but also the surrounding areas as well.-----The proposal that was briefed to Loveland’s City Council in secret will be presented to the Thompson School Board this Wednesday. McWhinney is hoping to get a letter of support from the School District.


Read the complete report with informative links - and feel free to post any comments here.




2008-06-03 06:05:12 GMT
Comments (19 total)
Author:Anonymous
I don't really understand why the City Council would accommodate the request? Are you saying that the Mayor and others who claim Centerra is a smashing success are going to make a false finding of blight contrary to their own public statements and Colorado state law?

--Carol King
2008-06-03 06:09:10 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Does anyone know if the city council already agreed or are they being more careful? Meeting in secret already so we don't know (not even Lovelandpolitics) what was agreed to in secret.

Your story is very good but misses an important point. Millions of dollars will now flow back to McWhinney for the dog track or other areas if the council makes the public lie of saying the area is qualified for more blight declarations.

I read the phony stories in the newspapers that all they want is flexibility - what a crock!!!! If anyone remembers back in 2004 the projection for city tax revenue anticipated the non-LURA areas developing and paying full taxes to city services. By carving out the next areas to develop to add to their tax stealing district while cutting out the least desirable parcels - McWhinney is screwing the city big time. No true custodian of the public's trust could vote for such a scam!!!!!!!!!!!!!
--Jon M.
2008-06-03 13:07:35 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I LOVE THE GUMBY GUY! I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM IN YEARS. YES, THAT IS A PERFECT. THEY DON'T HAVE TO TALK FROM BOTH SIDES OF THEIR MOUTHS JUST BECAUSE THE BLOCKHEADS (MCWHINNEY AND COMPANY) TOLD THEM TO> ON ONE HAND EAST LOVELAND IS A VIBRANT NEW AREA OF TOWN WHILE ON THE OTHER HAND ITS A SLUM????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? WHY CAN'T MCWINNEY JUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN DEVELOPMENTS INSTEAD OF ALWAYS LOOKING TO HAVE THE LOVELAND TAXPAYER FUND THEIR VISION.

WHAT IS THEIR SAYING? LET US BUILD YOUR DREAM? HOW ABOUT LET US BUILD OUR DREAM WITH YOUR TAXES. THAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE THESE GREEDY PEOPLE WHO NEVER HAVE ENOUGH OF OUR TAX DOLLARS.

I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS INCREASING THE SUBSIDY TO MCWHINNEY---NEVER>
--Jane Gordon
2008-06-03 13:16:22 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Can someone please tell me when and where the School Board meeting will be and is this on their regular agenda?
--CJ
2008-06-03 13:20:05 GMT
Author:Anonymous
A couple of points I don't think any of you understand. This website is nothing but misinformation.

1. The Metro District in Centerra has no power of eminent domain so when the property owner agrees - the determination of blight should be easily agreed to by the city council.

2. Nobody has brought more quality development and jobs to Loveland except McWhinney Enterprises

3. Without these developments Loveland would be just another Greeley or Johnstown where high-tech employees don't want to live since so many illegal aliens populate the town

4. Centerra is a brand name now that attracts people from across the state and Wyoming and Nebraska. People travel to shop at Centerra who never heard of Loveland.

5. Only 40% of the sale tax goes to our improvement district while the rest goes to Loveland to pay for local services. Without Chad and Troy Loveland would still be a backwater cow town where everyone would still go to Longmont or Ft. Collins to find quality stores and restaurants.

Unless you want Loveland to be another farm town overrun by Mexicans you should count your lucky stars that Troy and Chad are helping us to grow.

You either grow or die.
--T.L.
2008-06-03 13:32:53 GMT
Author:Anonymous
You got it wrong - they don't want the Council to bend over backwards - they want them to bend over forwards. I think you get the point. The blockheads were never that mean to poor Gumby!


--Carl
2008-06-03 13:37:50 GMT
Author:Anonymous
hmmmm....what can i say after that. well some things are worse morally probably than forced sodomy (even figuratively).

using a law meant to encourage development in poor areas to instead increase profits in affluent areas must earn you some special place in hell. i hope none of my city council representatives earn a trip to that special place and have the courage to do the right thing.
--BZ2cS
2008-06-03 13:50:07 GMT
Author:Anonymous
The McWhinneys have brought quality jobs to Loveland?

Name one that doesn't involve kissing Troy or Chad's backside.
2008-06-03 15:51:59 GMT
Author:Anonymous
AMEN TL!

OK... so while I think a few of your statements could have been worded better, I do agree.

Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with Mexicans or Hispanics by any means, and TL, I think you're trying to make a point on illegal immigration, but with as much spin as there is on this website, be careful not look racist.

OK... that out of the way:

1. Who ever the seemingly anonymous writer of this website is, they certainly are conveying their opinion that the there is a strict definition of blight that can not be left open for interpretation and makes the assumption that the council has already agreed with McWhinney Enterprises a land deal with a large hint of conspiracy theory.

So it must be bad for the city and it must be illegal?

Does the writer of this article really believe that John Duval (City Attorney) would recommend to the Council that they engage in illegal activities? Would the council simply not listen to Mr. Duval? I see one snippet of an Arapaho County case regarding redevelopment and that should be the determining factor as to the legality of a separate unrelated action by unrelated parties?

What about the quote itself? I don't see the motivation here being for a sole purpose of increasing tax revenues, nor do I think leaving the Dog Track (for instance) vacant serves a better public purpose.

I'm not a developer or property manager, but doesn't the whole way the Metro District funding approach work start with someone who wants to develop or re-develop an area. I don't think the city's job it to recruit developers and create Metro Districts with them. People can complain all they want about the McWhinney's, but the determining factor here is that they took the initiative and they asked for it.

2. 45% of employed people in Loveland commute out of town for work. I am not one of them solely because I telecommute. With companies like H-P and Agilent having significantly reduced staff (not everyone was laid off or moved, there are still telecommuters like me), with WaterPik having closed the plant in Loveland, its no surprise that this tends to be a bedroom community that doesn't offer a lot of high paying jobs here in town. With the economic downturns of the region though, it would be even harder to expect quality job growth in a town that wasn't the commercial or technilogical epicenter of the region... or even at least the county seat!

The growth in jobs that came with Centerra that the McWhinneys are indirectly responsible for the creation of are not generally good quality jobs. There are some, but mostly its retail and service industry which are low paying and tend to have limited benefits. The majority are not career level positions.

They are however jobs, period. Sort of like TL's comments above about how at least we aren't another Greeley or Johnstown (where replacement jobs were almost entirely non-existant) we have had some growth during the decline.

Its bad enough that people are replacing $70k/year jobs with $20k/year jobs, but its nonsensical to be angry at the people (all parties involved) who have had no control over the jobs that left but helped contribute to the jobs that were created.

How much worse would things be if those sources of income did not exist? How many more homes lost? We'll never know, but it is logical to conclude that the additional income by people living in Loveland, working in Loveland has helped soften that blow.

3. It is true that you either grow or die. The problem is that when you die its very hard and takes years to come back. Loveland is convienently right in the middle between Fort Collins and Greeley, two cities which are the county seats for their respective counties. It makes sense to target "pretty" commercial and retail growth here where people are going to see it in order to attract other business who would be capable of providing higher paying, career level employment to Loveland.

I'm posting my name. Would the author be so brave to post his?
--Derrick Barnes
2008-06-03 21:14:13 GMT
Author:Anonymous
You DID NOT answer the question: Name one quality job the McWhinneys brought to Loveland.

You DID NOT answer the question because you CANNOT answer the question.

I wouldn't be surprised, given that, you work for the McWhinneys.
--Mark
2008-06-03 23:52:50 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Derrick, did they (LP.COM) say it was illegal? The council has the discretion just like a judge in a court. Do you understand the difference between penal and civil law? The Council, like a judge, are supposed to be the fair arbitrator and therefore have that power. Whether they take their duties seriously is a different matter but certainly not a crime and I didn't see anyone saying that above.

The premise of your comments appears to be in error. The tax rebate only determines the amount of profit they can make not whether the project is built and that is not the purpose of urban redevelopment.

Why should people struggling to rent vacant car lots and other real blight created in Loveland by McWhinneys have to carry the burden of supporting services with all their taxes while McWhinneys don't?

Using redevelopment to manufacture new sprawl that will never pay its way should be a crime but it is not. I am thinking about the next 25 years in Loveland and you are thinking about McWhinney's profit for next year.

We have different perspectives.
--J. Axelrod
2008-06-03 23:54:37 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Thanks J.Axelrod.
To Derrick Barnes: Question of legality is, as any lawyer will be the first to state: "it depends". And that means it depends on the perspective of those DECIDING the case.

There is any case, quite a large distinction between what is morally right and what can be interpreted as "legal".

Look at the statutory definition of "blight" and the beginning, "Declarations" portion of Urban Renewal statute and you will see very clearly that the City of Loveland pushed a very novel and extreme interpretation of blight and used Urban Renewal for a purpose clearly not consistent with the statutory rationale.

Even State Sen. Steve Johson and former Rep. Jim Welker agreed at the time that it was an abuse of the enabling legislation. Subsequent efforts to reform the statute to prevent such abuses were killed several times by the lobbying of well-connected land speculators and development biz insiders.

Mr. Barnes, I suspect that you're thoughtful and perhaps want to do the right thing, but also do not know the history of Centerra nor the city. Let me share the perspective of a 42-year resident. I doubt you understand that the McWhinneys, major contributors to City Council election campaigns, were allowed to divert nearly $600 million in public taxes to subsidize their development. More than a half-billion taxpayer bucks! Tell me how many jobs at what income level they should have to "create" to justify that? That's a thousand bucks a year for 25 years to every existing Loveland family!

Re. "Grow or Die": this is the biggest, most-perpetuated lie/ myth going. With cancer, it's "Grow AND DIE SOONER"... and that analogy is not a stretch here. The faster the growth, the more out of control...the sooner the organism dies. Loveland has grown for 20+ years at roughly 3 times the national average. That is plain unhealthy... and rising deficits, (transportation) higher taxes (property, proposed sales taxes) and fees(water & wastewater rates) and declining service levels (roads, other) prove this.

Doubt this? Then why did Loveland City Council try to push so hard for another whole 1% sales tax increase for an RTA?

In any case, even if the basic assumption were true (and it is clearly not), if you are dependent on growth to live, what do we do when we run up against some physical limits. i.e. Water? Land? Air pollution? (I hear we are already violating federal standards for air pollution.) What then?

In any case, Loveland was growing (and would continue to do so) even without the massive taxpayer subsidy to one developer. I found decent paying work here long before this abuse, and there would always be work to the extent that the global economy allows. There is a critical mass of people/infrastructure/business and institutions here; we are NOT at risk of dieing, at least not simply due to lack of any of the key elements.
OUtside of those global and national economic / market factors, the local determinants of employment opportunities are: the levelness of the economic playing field, the quality of life, sufficiency of infrastructure, availability of an adequately educated workforce, and relative costs of production.

Finally, it is terribly wrong to give away these subsidies for another reason. It is fundamentally unfair to others; it skews the "playing field" to the advantage of one or another at the expense of others. It is unfair, for example, to other developers, and to other, already-existing business owners who never received those subsidies.

It also leads all the others to then seek (as they rightfully then should) the same benefits. Yet it is impossible to give all comers all the taxes... because the City would be broke even sooner than with the huge giveaway (and this will hurt Loveland for possibly far longer than the 25 years of the Urban renewal agreement.
--Herm
2008-06-04 01:46:16 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Thanks Herm! Great points. Don't let these people intimidate you or the many good people who contribute to LovelandPolitics! My late husband spoke out against unscrupulous developers taking over out City Council and was black listed ever since in his insurance business in town.

I understand why even good people at the ReportHerald are careful after I saw what was done to my late huband's good name.

This young man (Derrick Barnes) has good intentions but doesn't understand how nasty these people can be when we get between them and their open spigot of our tax dollars.

I think I know you Derrick if you are the young man who lives near Blackbird Knolls. Please understand that hiding behind "interpretation" differences will not fool anyone. A lie is a lie.
--Grace
2008-06-05 02:38:44 GMT
Author:Anonymous
For me this is an equity issue. The awesome power of the government to impose a tax should only be exerted to provide police, fire and other important services to protect the health, welfare and safety of the community.

Most people don't understand that local government can only only use their "police power" when your life and health are in danger. As an example, the fire department doesn't need a search warrant to knock down your door if the house next door is burning and they are trying to save lives.

The McWhinney tax would be illegal except for the local government's ability to exert POLICE POWER for the protection of the community. This is why they are REQUIRED BY LAW to make a finding of blight since such would represent a HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARD to the larger community. If they knock in your door - you want to make sure the house is really on fire and they didn't just make a different "interpretation" of the word fire as Mr. Barnes, the Pinnacle Group and McWhinneys will argue.

Nobody believes the newest properties they want to develop are some terrible blight that we all need to pitch-in to fix or risk greater harm to our community.

Not a single member of the City Council who votes for this can claim to be an upstanding or honest person. If they decide to be plainly dishonest and say what they know to be untrue this will go forward.

May God have mercy on their soles because the voters of Loveland will not.
--Walter
2008-06-05 04:46:06 GMT
Author:Anonymous
For me this is an equity issue. The awesome power of the government to impose a tax should only be exerted to provide police, fire and other important services to protect the health, welfare and safety of the community.

Most people don't understand that local government can only only use their "police power" when your life and health are in danger. As an example, the fire department doesn't need a search warrant to knock down your door if the house next door is burning and they are trying to save lives.

The McWhinney tax would be illegal except for the local government's ability to exert POLICE POWER for the protection of the community. This is why they are REQUIRED BY LAW to make a finding of blight since such would represent a HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARD to the larger community. If they knock in your door - you want to make sure the house is really on fire and they didn't just make a different "interpretation" of the word fire as Mr. Barnes, the Pinnacle Group and McWhinneys will argue.

Nobody believes the newest properties they want to develop are some terrible blight that we all need to pitch-in to fix or risk greater harm to our community.

Not a single member of the City Council who votes for this can claim to be an upstanding or honest person. If they decide to be plainly dishonest and say what they know to be untrue this will go forward.

May God have mercy on their soles because the voters of Loveland will not.
--Walter
2008-06-05 04:46:28 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Is there any citizen group to hold these people accountable? If not, we should probably start one. Maybe even to challenge the City in court when they (Manager and Council) play loose with the law and our taxes. Until someone takes such steps, I think they will continue to push the limits in testing what is legal...and will allow a few ike the Centerra developers to continue to squeeze this town dry.
--Herm
2008-06-05 22:16:46 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Well well well - they gave away $80 million of tax money for Grand Station which, if built at all, will now be perhaps half what was promised to the council (not to mention the moral and ethical problems with using urban renewal to develop "high end" projects). Now they are asked to make a blight determinationt hat not even a supproter of McWhinney thus far could justify. What don't we know about these folks? This type of action is what is bankrupting the County by diverting tis tax revenues to McWhinney "public improvements." Then they'll ask us to pass a new county tax.
--Lovelander
2008-06-08 21:59:05 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Has anyone seen the front page enditorial by Cara O'Brien in the Reporter-Herald? I know the operator of this blog discourages Herald bashing and takes down off-topic postings - but please hear me out.

The article seemed to be written by Rich Shannon and pretended to give the McWhinney's credit for spending the tax money they received on improvements to the 34.I-25 interchange.

It appeared to be a rebuttal to your story by the Herald on this topic of the "flexibility" plan. Why do they insist on being a mouthpiece? The report clearly was repeating nonesense on a topic she doesn't understand. It makes me ill to the stomach - they step all over the traditions of good journalism.
--Art
2008-06-09 16:16:57 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Come on now - just say who they are. McWhinney's Gumbys on council are Gene Pielin, Carol Johnson, Larry Heckel, Glenn Rousey and the guy with a wierd childlike voice - oh yea David Clark.

They will do whatever they are told and care nothing for the integrity of the community. Carol Johnson does do one thing very well, keeping quiet.

Maybe she learned Mark Twain's famous comment that it is better to keep you mouth shut and let people wonder if you are a fool than to open it and confirm their it.
--Zeee
2008-06-10 22:47:59 GMT
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