OECD Main Topic of Much More Sedate
Bradford City Council Meeting

Most of Tuesday’s City Council meeting consisted of defending the Office of Economic and Community Development, which has added $8 million to Bradford’s real estate tax base alone since its inception in 1987.

This does not include the new retail development and the Zippo/Case Museum along Chestnut Street (constructed by the OECD), which has generated several million more in new real estate taxes, along with many new businesses and jobs, OECD executive director Sara Andrews said in a prepared statement.

She made the statement – which was mainly addressed to mayoral candidate Paul Berg – because of accusations he made against her and the OECD on his Facebook page.

She called his statements “non-fact based” and “nonsense” before explaining the OECD’s contributions to the city, townships and Lewis Run – not the least of which was facilitating the sale of the refinery to American Refining Group when it was on the verge of closing in 1997. Among the other business OECD helped to recruit are Bradford Forest Products, Keystone Powdered Metal, Microtech, Holiday Inn Express and Luminite. They have also helped to create many new small businesses through their incubator program and the availability of low-interest loans.

She also explained the neighborhood revitalization projects and improvements made, and in the works, for the city’s parks, the Tuna Valley Trail System and more.

“Mr. Berg,” she said, in concluding her statement, “you can continue to write on your little social media pages and websites your imaginary comments and hearsay information that you get from who-knows-where, but I’m going to tell you one thing: you are never going to find any dishonest activity on behalf of the OECD staff.

“If you want to continue to make us a target and smear me to try to win a campaign, I don’t think you’re going to get very far.”

You can hear the rest of Andrews’ comments by going to http://wesb.com/listen, clicking on the "local programs" tab and scrolling to #54.

The other main issue visitors asked about was the proposed stormwater fee, which Mayor Tom Riel thoroughly explained during the last council meeting two weeks ago.

However, Riel explained again that it is only a proposal and that public work sessions and public meetings will be held before council even considers going ahead with the plan.

When the public comment portion of the meeting was over and the business portion had started, Riel had to tell several people in the back of the room to quiet down.

“We ask that you still remain orderly during this part of the meeting,” Riel said, adding that if what happened last time – disruptive behavior – happened again people would be removed from the room.

Later, when Riel skipped past a couple of ordinances in the agenda, he apologized, saying was “distracted by the people in the audience who were talking.”

One of the matters addressed in the business portion of the meeting was the emergency demolition and clean up of the property at 3-5 Main Street that crumbled earlier this month. The ordinance council approved also says other work may be necessary to not affect the Players Downtown building, which is partially connected to the building owned by Joseph and Edna Hallock.

Immediately after the meeting Berg claimed he has no intention of “getting rid of the OECD.” Also, when the meeting was over, a woman whose address Berg posted on his Facebook page confronted him about not deleting it after she asked him to do that. Former county commissioner John Egbert told her she can make him do it and she said, “Oh, I know I can.” She and Berg were told to take their argument outside of council chambers, which they did. Shortly after that, Police Chief Chris Lucco ran out of the room to stop a fight that had broken out.

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Anonymous said…
Why should Sara be worried.

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