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Entry for March 7, 2007
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Secret negotiations have been going on between the City of Loveland and the McWhinney's for a longtime before the announcement could be made of Centerra's new downtown.  But is it still Loveland?


The proposal is full of tax dollar incentives, waived fees and other "incentives" by the City of Loveland.  Taxpayers who support the project are asking, "Why can't the McWhinneys finance this one themselves."


After amassing considerable personal wealth through developments where taxpayers carry the costs for the development for 25 years - people are wondering what is the benefit to Loveland and what will happen to the Old Downtown.


2007-03-07 21:30:38 GMT
Comments (38 total)
Author:Anonymous
People have suspected this for years. I don't really mind the development but why should I pay for it? And what about the old downtown?
--Art
2007-03-07 21:32:49 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I agree. The McWhinneys should be allowed to proceed but this time they should pay for their transportation mitigation and other costs.
--Bev
2007-03-07 21:48:07 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Once the tax incentives run out, they vote to incorporate another city, where will Loveland be? Financing our future competition for tax dollars is not a good place to be. I hope the Council doesn't feel the need to continue subsidizing these kids from Southern California. They must be laughing all the way to the bank at us poor sap taxpayers.
--Janey Wells
2007-03-07 21:51:30 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Would the real future downtown of Loveland please stand up?
--B
2007-03-07 23:44:23 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I don't understand where the value is to Loveland if the taxes it generates are delayed another 25 years?

Citizens of Loveland should stop this City Council from removing the taxing authority from future Councils through longterm binding agreements.

I couldn't stop laughing about that one guy on your site sleeping at the meeting and another with his finger in his mouth. But I stopped laughing when I realized we are going to be paying for their mistakes for many years into the future.
--Debbie
2007-03-07 23:54:11 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I don't understand why anyone is upset by this. I welcome the opportunity for better shopping and dining. I want the suburb attractions without the big city being nearby. Bring it on! What's the big deal?

--Dawn
2007-03-08 02:21:20 GMT
Author:Anonymous
This is the future!!! Wake up, get over your nostalgic days of yesteryear. I am so sick of you anti-growth left wing nuts getting your feathers ruffled over a mall and apartments going in. Go back to your tree that you hug.

--J T
2007-03-08 02:50:09 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Hey JT, wake-up. The McWhinneys have been cost-shifting for years to pick our pockets to make themselves wealthy.

Maybe middleclass taxpayers in Loveland are tired of financing young wealthy Californian's with their tax dollars.

If Troy and Chad are so wealthy why can't they pay for their own development! I haven't read anyone say they are against this new development - they are against having their pockets cleaned again.


--Art
2007-03-08 03:53:01 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Dawn- do you really believe there won't be any additional traffic? The 34 is already backed-up everyday and adding thousands of more cars isn't going to be pretty.
--Susy
2007-03-08 03:59:38 GMT
Author:Anonymous
The McWhinney's are purely brilliant men. They took the farmland that their Father owned and really made something of it. They are living the American dream. Kind of like Don Marostica too, wasn't he raised on a dairy farm?
You should be ashamed of yourself for blaming them for anything but making this community what it is. You must just be jealous.

--J T
2007-03-08 04:12:57 GMT
Author:Anonymous
It seems that J T must be affiliated with the McWhinneys as he slings mud at those who disagree with the tax incentives given to them. Yes, Loveland has more shopping, a new hospital, more restaurants and more multi-family housing with the Centerra developments. However, all of these amenities could have been provided by offering similar incentives to developers and land owners in town to support infill development rather than encourage urban sprawl. Pushing all of this development so far from town at significant tax payer expense is a step in the wrong direction towards planning for a sustainable community. It would be interesting to see the increase in average annual miles travelled for Loveland residents since the birth of Centerra.

I doubt very much that the McWhinney's will step up with funds to help pay for road and other infrastructure improvements between Loveland and Centerra that are already inadequate.

And just think, most of the numbers being discussed with respect to cost don't even consider the long term maintenance and operations burden that much of this infrastructure will impose on Centerra tenants, residents and the City of Loveland while the McWhinneys simply move on to their next project.
--E S
2007-03-08 22:36:57 GMT
Author:Anonymous
E S Please run for City Council. I suspect folks are real tired of this now and it is time for a change. My sister works at city hall and she said they are rushing to make all the chnages to the documents with McWhinneys before the next election. They must already know how real unpopular they are now in this community.
--Betty
2007-03-09 01:33:09 GMT
Author:Anonymous
How can the City Manager be taking a public opinion on this without guidance from Council? The Sunshine Act appears to have been violated by Don Williams because he wouldn't be promoting a project that the Council never voted on or provided any direction to him.

Personnel issues and contract negotiations can be kept quiet - not development agreements and verbal promises of taxpayer funds. Any assurances McWhinneys already said they have with Loveland are clearly illegal. Is anyone in the media looking into these violations of the Sunshine Act?

Betty, I know about all the silly things that were done to keep this out of the light of day until the big announcement. Is the Larimer County Prosecuter asleep on the job?

Williams had the obligation to disclose both the negotiations, desicions and hand shake agreements regarding our tax dollars with McWhinneys. His game of doing it in secret and than planning a careful public unveiling that will be rubber stamped because Councilors already agreed - is not exactly legal.

Something needs to be done. Chad already said to several civic groups that "the big issues were already cleared with staff." How did this happen without any public discussions or votes by Council????
--Withheld
<mailto:blackbearstudios@msn.com>
2007-03-09 01:44:33 GMT
Author:Anonymous
When will the zombies like JT and Dawn get it. The Mcwhineys already milked the City taxpayers (and County and School District) for more than a half BILLION dollars (that's right, $591 million as reported by City and newspaper); now they are trying behind the scenes to get EVEN MOREfor highway improvements that their projects necessitate. And we've yet to hear about what they will have their puppets on Council give them for this newest project. "Self made men?" or greedy feeders at the public trough? you decide.
--M. Ryan
2007-03-09 01:48:37 GMT
Author:Anonymous
But hey! I don't blame the fellows for milking the system. They're just doing "bidness". No, I blame those officials who should be looking out for the taxpayers and general public, but who instead give their resources away to the lads in return for campaign contributions and who knows what.
--M. Ryan
2007-03-09 01:52:01 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I love downtown and was thinking of starting a nice resturaunt there but now I am not sure. If the Grand Station rent is reasonable - I will start it there instead. Goodby The Inglenook and other quality businesses downtown. Given a choice, even I will go with my wife to Grand Station since their theater will book better talent (and attrack bigger crowds) than the Rialto can.
--John
2007-03-09 02:01:22 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Wow, what a setup! Bad enough that the City Mgr is already part of the McW promo team. The project barely announced, the Reporter-Herald is already flacking for them. Take a look at not only the spin of the articles, (e.g. http://www.reporterherald.com/Top-Story.asp?ID=9402), which offer no counterpoint. Notice also the promotional video they embedded into this "news" story. They clearly had to have had an agreement with McW's to get that setup. How blatant in its bias can a newspaper get? What happened to good ol' honest reporting of news?

--Disgusted
2007-03-09 02:01:58 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I agree.......don't bet the farm on downtown now. It sounds like their goose is cooked.

Did anyone catch the McWhinney spokesperson's dumb comment that sales in downtown Loveland are up since Centerra was built so Grand Station will help grow their sales.

What a nucklehead, Loveland's population grew by nearly 30% at the same time. Growth in the number of residents is the only thing driving those better numbers. Absent the commercial shops at Centerra it would be even better!

Mimicking the downtown (theaters, fine eateries and retail space) clearly hurt downtown. I think his name was Don Williams but I am not sure of what position he has.
--Gary
2007-03-09 02:06:53 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Don Williams' official title is "City Manager" and he's not employed by McWhinney. (But, maybe you're onto something.)
--Steve-o
2007-03-09 04:07:49 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Since this Grand Station is clearly a replacement for Loveland's existing downtown, clearly re-routing traffic away from downtown, where is the Downtown Loveland Assn on all this? Is there an agreement between the City of Loveland and the McWhinneys for Centerra to stay in the city after all the tax abatements, incentives, and tax increment financing expires? How much is all this going to cost Loveland anyway?
--Marty
2007-03-09 04:27:10 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Oh, what's all the bother! Shopping is what makes life worth living, and these people are bringing a more intense shopping experience to us all. They're giving Loveland a great gift. And don't forget all the career opportunities as clerks and stockers, either.
--Shopping Diva
2007-03-09 04:35:40 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Such sarcasm! I don't know where the downtown (the old one)association is on this recent revelation.
--bb
2007-03-09 04:48:27 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I would urge all of you who are concerned about this project to attend and comment during the public hearings. I will keep the dates and times posted for those interested in attending. There are some very intelligent and considered comments here but they only do good if they are delivered to the folks who make the decisions.
--Downtown Loveland
2007-03-09 04:56:01 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Come on people..it's the same sob stories everytime something new gets build in east Loveland. What should the city do? Tell the McWinneys that they can't develop their own land!

As to using citizen's tax dollars...your tax dollars from your property tax that Loveland receives has been the same percentage for years. It was the same before and after Centerra. It was the same before and after the shops were completed east of I-25 and it will probably be the same after the Grand Station development. The only time you pay more taxes is when your property value is increased by the county. Why has the city not increased the city's portion of your tax bill? It's because of new development bringing in additional dollars from increased property value and increased sales tax revenue.
--ouch
2007-03-09 14:35:33 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Ouch, the point is, we don't mind the development going in, we just DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT. The McWhinneys get HUGE tax incentives from the city with their developments. 35 million, I believe with the Promenade shops. The citizens of Loveland DO PAY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT through a fee that is tacked on to everything that is purchased at their properties. They will turn Centerra into their own city, and then abandon Loveland. We have essentially paid for their city, they have gotten very wealthy, and Loveland will be left as a shell of it's former self.

--Downtown supporter
2007-03-09 15:24:39 GMT
Author:Anonymous
It is illegal to move out of the city and form their own city. Can't be done!! Without the development, there would be no new taxed from which to give the incentives. The city makes a lot less with the bare land. So, the city gives the incentives based on new revenues which allows the development to take place or the city says "no" and the development does not happen and the city gets no increase.
--ouch
2007-03-09 17:05:17 GMT
Author:Anonymous
After I read all these comments, I want to point out some glaring omissions of fact from "ouch's" posts:
1st, he/she uses a red herring, by arguing about whether or not our City property tax rose. (s)he doesn't address such things as: sales tax, water and wastewater rates, etc., which are in fact rising, to pay for McWhinneys and other developers.
I hear that the McW's already are pushing for a HUGE sales tax increase (which we fortunately get to vote on) to pay at least partly for their road improvements, thru something called a RTA. They also already got the City and regional transport planners to ask for a federal subsidy for one the improvements they were supposed to make.
As for water rates, the Manager got the Council to approve yearly water rate hikes to fund more water storage for the huge population increase that the McWhinneys are trying to attract; after we already had paid water rate increases for Green Ridge Glade expansion.
Same with wastewater...rates increased not long ago to pay for expansion to add capacity...for whom? My family isn't flushing the toilet any more than we used to, is yours? So why do we have to pay higher rates for capacity expansion? Answer: to subsidize new developments like Mcwhinneyville.

2nd, Our property taxes ARE increasing. WHy? Because the School DIstrict needed more $ to pay for the new schools needed for ...what? New developments, that's what. To make matters worse, the McW's sucked off all the property tax increment from all that land not just from the City, but also from the School District, which got promises of a site for the neeeded new schools...a fraction of the cost of new schools. If instead that land had come into development via normal forcs of the free market and its timing , i.e. withtout "corporate welfare", the City and County and School districts would have benefitted from all the increased property taxes.

3rd, the focus only on the fact that our property taxes (outside of Centerra) aren't going to McW's obscures another important fact. It impliees that the City services and infrastructure (that Centerra consumes) are cost-free. But the very reason why cities want commercial development in the 1st place is because they generate more taxes than they consume in services. But the City loses all of the property tax increment, and has to give the McW's almost half of the sales tax back, and When you cut the City (and county) off from those same taxes (for 25 years) then of course someone else has to pay! That's you and me, sister.
Again, it's bad enough that we have to live with all the added traffic congestion. But why should the City government keep making us pay through our taxes and fees to have it increase even faster? The writer who suggests campaign contributions as an explanation for this mess is probably right on the $.
--Honest John
2007-03-09 21:41:45 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Campaign contributions? It's public record and available for the reading..yeah, maybe a couple hundred dollars if that...I'm sure that would make a difference on how the city votes for the development. I know of at least one city council member who ran unopposed and several others who did not accept any monies from anyone. What campaign contributions are you talking about?

Sales tax increases? Let's compare the gasoline cost of driving to Fort Collins to purchase goods versus the increase sales tax at Centerra.

Water storage? How about KB homes, US homes, and all the other developments that increased our population by the thousands. These were all built prior to any development anouncements for east of I-25. And of course the drought had nothing to do with it.

Check with the school district...they agree to any and all developments that affect their school system. They either get land for a school or accept money instead.

Let's see..find some city without growth and without retail or commerical development and I bet you find an increase in school tax, water fees, utility fees, city tax and all other forms of tax.

Corporate welfare? The northern front range is growing like mad...try to get a commerical deveopment in without incentives when you are competing with all the other cities. Ask Fort Collins if their old policy of not giving incentives hurt or helped their city! The Fort Collins current city council is now doing the same as Loveland...why? Because they are hurting for revenue...which, by the way, is due to sales tax revenue going to Loveland. Their loss of revenue is huring all their departments including water, sewer, police, fire, streets, etc.

I don't believe you can have it both ways.

--Ouch
2007-03-12 04:05:34 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Ouch - you are in error. If Northern Colorado is booming, as you say, than incentives are not required for development.

Incentives should be used to draw development to places where they otherwise wouldn't be interested.
--Art
2007-03-12 19:47:46 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Good point Art. Lincoln Place received some incentives for building in the downtown area but a lot a people are upset with the parking issue. I guess you just can't please everyone.

Northern Colorado is booming and for that reason, you need to give incentives to keep existing stores in your area and for new development that is looking to the area. One reason that Fort Collins didn't get a new super-mall is that the necessary incentives were lacking whereas Loveland decided to make the new shopping east of I-25 attractive to the developer----both McWhinneys and the mall developer themselves.

Sometimes, depending of location, incentives are not necessary if the store/business believe that traffic patterns and customer base is right for the development. But when you have two or more cities both with the necessary traffic and customer base, one city will be in competition with the other and sometimes only the incentives will ensure your city of getting the development.

If memory serves me correctly, Lowes, Home Depot and others received some samll incentives to build in Loveland but the increase tax revnue will result in bigger dollars over time than what was given.

Would they have build here without incentives? Don't know...but I like shopping here at those stores instead of driving to Fort Collins or Windsor. I believe that Johnstown gave a lot of incentives for the 25/34 development and I would assume that they believe it made sense...only time will tell.
--ouch
2007-03-12 21:53:51 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Good point Art. Lincoln Place received some incentives for building in the downtown area but a lot a people are upset with the parking issue. I guess you just can't please everyone.

Northern Colorado is booming and for that reason, you need to give incentives to keep existing stores in your area and for new development that is looking to the area. One reason that Fort Collins didn't get a new super-mall is that the necessary incentives were lacking whereas Loveland decided to make the new shopping east of I-25 attractive to the developer----both McWhinneys and the mall developer themselves.

Sometimes, depending of location, incentives are not necessary if the store/business believe that traffic patterns and customer base is right for the development. But when you have two or more cities both with the necessary traffic and customer base, one city will be in competition with the other and sometimes only the incentives will ensure your city of getting the development.

If memory serves me correctly, Lowes, Home Depot and others received some samll incentives to build in Loveland but the increase tax revnue will result in bigger dollars over time than what was given.

Would they have build here without incentives? Don't know...but I like shopping here at those stores instead of driving to Fort Collins or Windsor. I believe that Johnstown gave a lot of incentives for the 25/34 development and I would assume that they believe it made sense...only time will tell.
--ouch
2007-03-12 21:54:10 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Ouch, if I am to accept your arguments than we don't need a city government because all development is good and no subsidy too much.

It is wrong for the McWhinney's to announce a new subsidized project before the public even knows what the city negociated. It is a violation of the sunshine act.

Where are the public's representatives and please tell me when and where was the public notified or allowed to provide input?

Yes, they can develope their own property. I will bet you $1,000 that if the City Council grew some gonads and said no to whatever subsidies were already agreed to in the dark, McWhinney would claim the project can't go forward. While it is likely untrue, this old saw is used to milk taxpayers and get the McWhinneys a good return on the expensive meals and receptions they provided our corrupt City Council.
--Jim
2007-03-13 13:24:12 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Responding to Ouch’s 3/12 post.
Re.: “Campaign contributions? ..yeah, maybe a couple hundred dollars if that..” .
WRONG. In the 2003 election cycle alone, McWhinneys gave $1,150 to the mayor alone. This doesn’t of course begin to cover their contribs to other candidates or other elections. If ouch is so naïve (or disingenuous) to suggest that such funding has no bearing on votes, I’m afraid a vast part of the population would not agree.

Re. “Sales tax increases? “.
I have no idea what kind of red herring you were trying to introduce to the discussion, but what I’m talking about is the proposed/possible NEW 1% sales tax increase that McWhinneys are pushing to get road improvements benefiting their development.

Re. “Water storage? How about KB homes, …”
RIGHT. McWhinneys alone aren’t responsible; all of the new developments are creating demand for new water supplies, and as a result forcing rate increases (subsidies) from all the existing residents. This is true of the McWhinneys, who ALSO took other huge subsidies, making them even more culpable.

Re.: “Check with the school district...they agree to any and all developments that affect their school system. They either get land for a school or accept money instead.”.
1. The School District does not have ANY review or veto authority over any development decision. They occasionally do comment on them, but given that real estate industry is their prime support group when they come to the voters with new bond issue requests, etc., they NEVER bite the hand that feeds them.
2. The second part implies something that is simply not true; i.e that development is paying for schools. This is quite dishonest. First of all while the City does require that developments contribute something to school district (either some land or a fee in-lieu, the amount is so minuscule and represents only a small fraction of the actual cost of building a school. It is pure tokenism. As we see every couple years with new tax requests, it is ALL homeowners who get billed for the costs…when it is new development which creates the demand.


Re. “Corporate welfare? The northern front range is growing like mad...try to get a commerical deveopment in without incentives…”

Yes…Corporate welfare. No matter how you slice it, when you give incentives to one player or another, you are subsidizing their profits with someone else’s (the tax- and rate-payers’) money. That is CORPORATE WELFARE! Now, when we’re
”growing like mad”, as you say, this is like throwing gasoline on a wildfire. Now that’s MADNESS!
--Honest John
2007-03-14 05:08:28 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Jim: Ask yourself why no members of the city council was present at the McWhinney's announcement of Grand Station. I was told by one member that they were told not to go because it would have been prior to any negotiations yet to take place and would have been improper. I don't think your the type who will believe that so call a couple of councilors and ask if the were at the announcement. I'm afraid you'll still think something is taking place hehind closed doors but you should really check it out before making assumptions.

Honest John: The tax amounts to 1 dollar per 100 dollars spent...I guess you could drive to Fort Collins and save that buck...I would rather stay in Loveland, save a buck on gas and spent the 100 dollars here...is that a bad thing?

You are right and I'm wrong...the mayor did get that amount in contributions and I believe that was the most given to anyone. Sorry, but I really feel sorry for anyone who really believes that he would decide on which way to vote because of that contribution amount. I guess there are people out there who think all elected officals are corrupt...how sad.

There was nothing dishonest about my statements on the school district. They were in meetings with the McWhinneys and agreed to the development east of I-25. I pick up council packets at city hall and there was a letter from the school district. I would suggest that you go to city hall and do the same..anyone is allowed to obtain the same packets that the council gets.

If you are going to use the name "honest" John then go ahead and say what you really mean....you simply hate any type of growth. I believe you would be against any growth regardless of subsides or not. Cup always half empty?

You really don't believe that Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, the shops east of I-25 and other commerical developments on McWhinney's property has increased the city's revenue over any incentives? You don't believe that all that development has made life better for the citizens of Loveland? You don't believe that the majority of citizens would rather have it as it is now as opposed to what it was? If you really believe all that, then your are the one who is naive not me!
--ouch
2007-03-14 14:09:34 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Question, if the McWinneys already decided to build Grand Station without any official offer of incentives from City Hall- why are incentives needed?

Anything provided now cannot be called incentives but gifts instead. They own the property, paid the architects to draw the plans and announced what they intend. The only role the City of Loveland has at this late stage is as a regulator.

Secondly, the City Manager wouldn't tell a Councilor who may vote against the project not to attend the opening reception since it wouldn't matter. It appears as though his concern for their political appearances is prima facie evidence that he already knows how they will vote. In addition, he wouldn't be out in the public talking-up the development if he didn't have some sort of direction from the Council.

This is exactly the sort of backroom desicion making the Sunshine Act was passed to prevent. Residents of Loveland appear to have been ignored.
--William W.
2007-03-15 03:14:24 GMT
Author:Anonymous
The School District hasn't done its job of increasing capital improvements funding with the new growth in town. Dan Johnson doesn't speak for everyone in the District.
--D.S.
2007-03-15 03:43:52 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Check out the annexation agreements, they have the option to disconnect from the City if the City does not provide the infrastructure they need.
--Brian
--Brian
2007-03-25 15:33:10 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Here are a few projects the Centerra Metro District (the McWhinney controlled group that gets all future tax dollars) is supposed to fund according to the Master Financing Agreement but are trying to weasel out of by getting the RTA to pay for with other dollars. I wrote an extensive letter to the Editor but they won't print this kind of thing.

1. US 34 and I-25 Interchange (interim) $12 million. 2. US 34 and I-25 Interchange final for $50 million (due finished by 2024). 3. Centerra Parkway Underpass etc.....

You get the point - they got over $500 million and agreed to $201,354,000 in road improvements. But, Rick Shannon and other lobbyists for the McWhinneys populate the citizens transportation committees along with their lapdog (Marostica) and now want a vote to make us pay AGAIN for what they already agreed to pay for with OUR TAX DOLLARS.

It is a crime and someone on the City Council should speak out for the taxpayers instead of their campaign contributors - just once.

Great job on that video musical on your home page. i sent it to everyone I know in town.
--Carl R.
2007-03-25 16:07:41 GMT
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