McWhinney Infomercial on City Time

McWhinney Company is scheduled to provide Loveland’s City Council an infomercial at their next regularly scheduled council meeting this Tuesday January 16. While the agenda claims “no action” the booster for the event, Councilman Don Overcash, did not place it on a study session agenda (for non-action informational items) but instead a regularly scheduled council meeting which is curious.

Many of the more egregious actions by previous councils to abandon safeguards in the city’s 2004 agreement, like absolving McWhinney of their contractual obligation to fund transportation improvements from the hundreds of millions of tax dollars diverted to their privately controlled Centerra Metro District, occurred with almost no notice and to avoid public debate and proper disclosure.

Any guess on what they might propose? Historically, McWhinney only presents to council when they are seeking council actions necessary for another large and precedent setting subsidy.

Below is the only information available to the public in the city’s council agenda.

At the November 21, 2017 Loveland City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Overcash invited the McWhinney Group to a future Regular City Council meeting for an update regarding work in progress and information on future plans.  Council achieved a rule of 4 by Council Member Clark, Council Member Fogle, and Council Member Olson joining Overcash in this request.

Information Only

As evidence McWhinney is more powerful than our elected leaders, city staff or any other developer or private citizen is the community is the fact their presentation and topic is being kept secret. City Manager Steve Adams will not allow any of the above mentioned people the ability to present to Loveland’s City Council (including the Mayor and members of the council) without first disclosing their topic and presentation at least three days prior to the council meeting. Instead, McWhinney’s agenda item states only,

LIST OF ATTACHMENTS:

1. PowerPoint Presentation (Will be made available on Monday, January 15, 2018.)

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22 Responses to McWhinney Infomercial on City Time

  1. Dave says:

    Overcash is such a little weasel! Mr. Admin, why doesn’t it seem to matter who gets elected to council, this manipulation continues?

    • Admin says:

      The night of Councilman Overcash’s election he hugged Troy McWhinney and thanked him for everything he did to get him elected. Curiously, whatever that was doesn’t seem to be completely in the public record where financial support should be disclosed. Since Overcash didn’t hug every $100 contributor (Loveland’s council campaign contribution limit) we can only be left to wonder about the rest.

      Otherwise, Councilman Overcash appears to have good instincts and a conservative approach to government. When it comes to McWhinney, he is like their paid lobbyist in in city hall with little to no regard for his constituents or the conservative values he otherwise supports.

  2. Nancy Rumfelt says:

    Will their presentation cover the actual financial sustainability of Centerra?

    There are at least two stores closing and/or not renewing their leases this year – how many leases are up for renewal this year? How many of these leases do the McWhinney’s expect to NOT renew?

    What kind of financial assistance will they most likely ask for? What is the real status of the bond debt that Centerra holds i.e. does Centerra have the cash flow to continuing making the debt payments?

    How much actual revenue can be directly attributed to the tax payer funded advertising campaign “winter wonderland”?

    And most important what new shell game might the McWhinney’s propose????

    • Admin says:

      If Macy’s closes the anchor at Promenade will be lost so many other smaller shops may close. The debt of $188,000,000 cannot be paid back within 25 years so they have shifted to “forever bonds” compounding interest.

  3. Gary says:

    McWhinney has recently been approved for annexation of a residential development south of Mountain View High. Just watch as this project progresses to see what council is asked to contribute to the pot, usually something that other builders must cover from their own pocket.

    • Admin says:

      Is that a guess or is there some additional info you can share?

    • Gary says:

      I was present at council meetings where plans for three different parcels were introduced as potential projects for 2018 by McWhinney.
      1. The land north of the outlet stores and south of MCR for mixed use.
      2. Rezoning of land north of 37th and east of Boyd Lake Ave.
      3. The land south of Mountain View High and west of Boyd Lake Ave. annexed for a proposed residential subdivision.
      At a meeting in 2017 regarding Metro Districts, URA’s and Tax Incentives, David Crowder stated the McWhinney would not build projects such as these without the guarantee of government funded incentives.

      • Admin says:

        On your last point, of course not. David Crowder’s salary is being paid by the taxpayers of Centerra to run their metro district. Instead, he spends his time apparently pitching for McWhinney sometimes at the expense of existing property owners and businesses in Centerra. Not a single person in the city, not even John Fogle or Don Overcash, can get McWhinney to reveal Crowder’s timecard so we can accurately account for when his salary is coming from taxpayers or McWhinney while he lobbies members of our city council on behalf of the private company.

  4. Gary says:

    Two statements made by the McWhinney presenters in the meeting of 1/15/18 need to be examined.
    1. 60% of the sales at Centerra/Promenade come from out of Loveland customers.
    I’m pretty sure that’s false and how would the landlord know this? I’ve purchased
    items from several stores there and my address was not asked.
    2. The school district approves of allowing property tax money due to the district to be
    diverted to McWhinney via T.I.F. agreement written into the Master Financing Agreement. One thing that is not well publicized is that the State of Colorado backfill program only provides 1/2 of the lost tax revenue to make up shortfalls. What genius in the TSD has supported this plan while declaring schools need to be closed because they can’t afford the costs.

  5. Eric Sutherland says:

    I haven’t the benefit of viewing the infomercial, but look forward to it. It hardly matters. The overarching and underlying concept is simple to grasp: THE MASSIVE SUBSIDIES OF PUBLIC MONEY ARE UNLAWFUL.

    Is there anyone in Loveland/TSD willing to challenge the unlawful diversion of sales and property tax? That is the only question worth asking at this point. Those provisions of the MFA that purport to obligate public money to the MD appear to be written by people who have never read statutory or constitutional law. The ‘lawyers’ involved were either dumb as stumps or paid hoars, take your pick not that it matters.

    The URA statutes as they existed in 2003 could never be construed to authorize what was contemplated in the original MFA. Since then, 31-25-107 has been amended twice in a manner that moves the boundary of permissable activity closer to what has been happening, but not nearly far enough.

    The entire concept that a blanket sales tax ‘rebate’ could be authorized by a single addition to the LMC and the adoption of an ‘agreement’ is beyond absurd. There are a half dozen conflicts with constitutional provisions inherent in this scheme.

    The true villains in all of this have been the ‘attorneys’ in the Loveland Office of the City Attorney. We have John Duval up here now doing much the same sort of thing: vouching for whatever is wanted regardless of the compatibility withdf our underlying framework of our law.

    Does the outcome justify the lawlessness? I don’t know how anyone could argue that it is. The results are abysmal. Depressing. Counter-productive.

  6. eric sutherland says:

    OMG, did I just misspell ‘whore’? Forgive me. When attorneys sit by and passively condone something that is as blatantly illegal as a 25 year ‘agreement’ to ‘rebate’ sales taxes, they deserve the characterization. If nothing else, this ‘agreement’ was a multiple year financial obligation that required voter approval in advance under the TABOR (4). However, this ‘agreement’ was more properly viewed as a violation of equal protection and legislation that impaired the financial base of government … both unconstitutional.

    The only thing Mayor Marsh had to do was simply ask: ” May we have ALL our sales tax from here forward please.” She could ask that question knowing that, if the answer was ‘no’, a two page complaint filed in district court w0uld change the answer to a ‘yes’. It does not matter if the majority of Council should believe that the ‘agreement’ is a good deal. It is lawless.

    Alan Pogue is completely without recourse to correct for the mind numbing mistakes of the past. The Metro District has no legally enforceable right to either the URA pseudoincrement. If the a MD wants to collect 1.25% PIF, that is their choice, but it must be collected on top of the full 3% city sales tax.

  7. Gary says:

    Tonight 1/17/18 I went to the Thompson School District meeting and brought up the Tax Increment Financing deals the City Council has recently made with retail store developers in Loveland. I explained the revenue lost was more than enough to take care of the TSD shortages. The board was planning to discuss the closing of up to 8 elementary schools to balance the budget. I expressed to the board it is not only their right but also their obligation to demand all the property tax revenue due to the TSD. The City Council may not waive or grant the revenue of the TSD without permission. The board made and passed a motion to refrain from closing any schools until the close of the 2018-2019 school year.

    • Eric Sutherland says:

      Unfortunately and ironically, the cessation of diverting pseudoincrement to LURA would have a negative, not positive, effect on TSD. This counter-intuitive result is a consequence of the funding mechanism that is used to pay the COP on the high plains school. The following facts are essential to understanding this situation.

      1) The General Fund levy (Total program) for TSD, currently around 22 mills, forms the base of a two part funding scheme that provides for the per pupil revenues that TSD operates on. The state provides the difference between what local property tax brings in and the Total Program number set by the legislature each year. Thus, the reduction in GF property tax revenue attributable to diversions to LURA does not decrease the total funding available to TSD. Rather, it increases the state share that must be paid. Some people refer to this as the backfill.

      2) The remainder of TSD’s total tax levy, the voter approved Mill Levy Overrides and Bond Redemption levies, are now set at fixed amounts. (As opposed to fixed rates.) This means that the tax levy certified by TSD every year is a tax rate sufficient to bring in the voter approved fixed amounts when applied to all of the taxable property in the district … except for Centerra. This methodology ( see CRS 39-5-128) creates a bizarre ‘multiplier effect’ whereby TSD gets the amount that it is due every year, but LURA/McWhinneyville also gets a chunk of change equal to the tax rates certified by TSD times the assessed value of the property in the URA plan area.

      3) TSD relied upon revenues generated by this absurd ‘multiplier effect’ to finance the high plains school. The tax revenues attributable to the 2005 bond redemption and the 2006 mill levy override when applied to the assessed valuation in the URA plan area are, pursuant to the MFA, payable to TSD exclusively for the purposes of building new schools in the plan area.

      So .. what happens when LURA is deemed ineligible to receive any more pseudoincrement? That’s right … the ‘extra’ money that is now relied upon to pay off the COP’s vanishes into thin air. TSD would need to come up with the $930k/yr from its already challenged general fund or turn the building over to the COP investors. It stinks. I railed against this plan when the brilliant Stan Scheer and his even more brilliant board of education were considering this plan. No one had any idea what the liability could be if, heaven forbid, we actually started following the URA statutes and constitution. (Well, I think Kim Perry might have known and realized that this effect would give anyone who might assail the unlawful TIF pause to consider the effect on TSD.)

      This is all the direct result of unreserved lawlessness. How does a city government get away with theft while jeopardizing the school district that educates the children of the community? Hire a bunch of people with law degrees to lie. John Duval has done more to destroy our community than any person alive or dead.

  8. Greg R. Snyder says:

    I think that the Thompson School District needs a public audit of their finances as well as some turnover in the administration if they are so short of funding that they need to close 8 elementary schools. Why did they build the new elementary in McWhinneyville if funding is that tight and apparently the student population must have shrunken drastically. Given the growth in commercial and residential property as well as the inflation of the taxable valuation of the same, I find it very difficult to believe that the property and personal property tax revenues have fallen tot he point that the District is impoverished. Sure smells of either misrepresentation of the facts or mismanagement of the business operations to me, neither of which should be rewarded by a future tax increase, which I am sure this is all a setup to support such a plan.

    • Gary says:

      A plan to maintain larger yet fewer schools was promoted at the meeting by Lori H Ward and Pam Howard. They also continually refer back to the failure of their ballot issue to increase taxes and bond debt. The smaller schools and proximity of these schools has a lot to do with the decision of parents where they want to reside. These board members need to shape up and realize that the folks paying the bills expect them to do a better job.

  9. Greg R. Snyder says:

    Admin: Perhaps you could start a new thread about the school district if they are going to begin putting the squeeze on the taxpayers again. Here are some stats about the Loveland and surrounding school districts: https://elementaryschools.org/directory/co/cities/loveland/

    Cutting 8 elementary schools would be a 50% cut. This could also be a play by the district to close some schools they have wanted to close in the past but chose not to buck the unavoidable NIMBY backlash by actually following through. Notice the massive free and reduced lunch population in the district also. The move by the city planners to increase the “diversity” of Loveland must be working according to plan……

    • Admin says:

      I see the Thompson R2-J school district as victims of these metro district schemes and urban renewal. McWhinney’s agreement is to only allow them to use what was really the school’s mill levy override for capital improvements like building a new school next to residential development owned by McWhinney. Just like Centerra metro districts, unless the “public” improvement results in increasing McWhinney’s wealth the funding is DOA.
      By manipulating the district into opening another school, High Plains, while refusing to allow funds for operating expenses the McWhinney’s helped to create the current funding crises.

      • Gary says:

        An element in the decision process when a new school or many other public improvements should be constructed is this. When long range planning determines a public facility or road is needed in a subdivision, they have a provision for allowing payments-in-lieu of actually doing the work. The construction costs often escalate faster than the interest accrues on the funds, so building it now makes sense. Additionally, once the facility is built, the money earmarked for it won’t get misplaced as in many previous payment-in-lieu deals.

  10. Greg Snyder says:

    But, that is the result of incompetent leadership. Have any of the people on the school board or in administration actually owned or operated a private business that had to meet a bottom line? I don’t have an MBA in business but I have managed to operate a profitable, growing business with 6 employees for almost 30 years. If I can do that using only common sense, an ear to both the customer and employee needs, and a hard line on keeping the business continually in the black, surely the highly educated folks in our public education system can at least keep the operation above water while offering an inferior product.

  11. Margie Fox says:

    Back to McWhinney what about that Loveland Reporter-Herald Article?

    You should have a fake news award because they get the prize! The reporter thought the debt was the “company” debt and not public debt. That is the most uninformed reporting I have ever seen in my entire life!

    When are you going to do an article?… lots of readers don’t want to comment but we rely on you guys as our only place to get credible news on Loveland. That poor newspaper is so confused I am really embarrassed for them. It’s time to recruit a credible newspaper for our community!

    • Admin says:

      Thanks for your comment. To be fair, the ‘fake news’ label usually implies a reporter whose bias is so strong they deliberately misinform their readers.

      In this case, the reporter likely relied on the wrong sources, like McWhinney, to get her facts for the story.

      Especially troubling was Councilman Steve Olsen’s attempt to interrupt Mayor Marsh’s question by saying debt was not the city’s business. He also was confused about the fact that Loveland’s sales tax of 3% is not being charged to shoppers in Centerra.

      For anyone reading who doesn’t know, Centerra is funded largely through property taxes diverted from the government agencies charged with providing local services. By giving away the tax base, Loveland is struggling to meet services even after regularly raising fees and taking more from utilities to make-up the difference.

  12. Greg Snyder says:

    But we have a great shopping center, right? If Macy’s moves out I think Dick’s won’t be far behind. Once the anchors are gone the rest of the stores will soon find they don’t have enough traffic to pay the bills. I hope that John Fogle hangs around long enough to realize that Loveland will never return to the town of his boyhood.

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