Updated: Apr 17
The following is an email Jason Kazmierczak sent to our site, followed by my response. I would be more than happy to publish this type of interaction for people to see.
(I will not however condone childish name calling, harassment, or threats. I feel that is both an embarrassment to the City of Franklin as well as an afront to the quality of our citizens.)
I've further updated this email chain, as I have now received Jason's latest response, and although in blatant violation of our rules, I felt it worth making an exception, as I think you will find this enlightening with regard to Jason's character.
Your group has already ensured that Strauss will not expand it’s operations in Franklin, a move in my opinion that is short sighted from a long term tax base perspective, but you succeeded none the less.
What is the purpose of this new federal lawsuit other than to “stick it to” the hard working tax payers of Franklin.
If you want to bring about change, do it at the ballot box not in the courtroom.
The people who pay taxes should have the final say in our governmental representation not a frivolous lawsuit.
Support and advocate for QUALITY candidates that reflect your opinions and perspectives and allow the voters to decide.
This legal action is a waste of tax payer money and city resources!
-Jason A Kazmierczak
Franklin Resident and Tax Payer
I appreciate your opinion, but I feel you are operating under the wrong assumptions, with inaccurate information.
FCA has not yet insured that an inappropriate and offensive industrial user will not end up at the current Strauss site. The charade of the new set of SUP meetings conducted by the City in no way satisfied the court order they were under. Rather than creating de novo hearings as required by the court, the City instead chose to simply move to attach the special use permit to the land, (which is actually illegal,) since their applicant withdrew.
The unnecessary TIF required to bring Strauss out to a location where no one wanted them to be (including Strauss themselves, initially,) created a $14,000,000 tax burden to the City. In the best case scenario, virtually all taxes generated will go to paying off this TIF, in highly optimistic terms, in 12 yrs, but in reality probably closer to 20yrs. This is money that could have been going to schools and the police all along. Critics of our efforts seem to like to erroneously imply, if not for Strauss, that land will sit undeveloped. However, that land was always prime for subdivisions, where the Developer would have been responsible for the infrastructure. If our current administration had done nothing, Franklin would have no TIF 6 (not needed, meeting no requirements of a TIF), further subdivisions would be under development, and tax dollars would already be flowing into the City's coffers.
This is why FCA was forced to move on to a federal law suit. We would like to get at the financial dealings which led to $14 million of tax payer money being fronted for a development no one wanted, with the hope our money would be returned in up to 20 years. Unfortunately it is the short sighted and ill informed who love to use those phrases with our organization. The $1M plus annual tax loss figure that is bandied about, does not even use the correct tax rate for industrial properties, and fails to acknowledge other development would produce even more revenue on that site. Still, I most definitely agree with you that the people who pay taxes here should have the greatest say.
My tax bill has gone up by more than 50% in the last 5 yrs, all during a time when our pro growth administration was bringing us new development that would lower our tax bills. What they brought us was new debt, via numerous TIF districts, some of which are underwater. Yes, that means you and I are subsidizing those developments for now, with our own money. As one of the many hard working tax payers of Franklin, I can assure you I do no wish to "stick it to" myself or others. FCA is trying to do the exact opposite.
Furthermore, had Strauss been able to build, the value of local properties would have decreased dramatically. Sadly, as the City failed to require any property study, we had to find a 3rd party expert and pay for it ourselves. That information will be made public, most likely by the end of next week. Again, critics, and even a local Realtor, accused people of whining about their property values. However, several of the closest properties may be reduced by as much as $150,000 in value according to initial results from the Cohn Reznick study. While I'm very much focused on the greater good, I would not-- and I also assume you would not-- find it acceptable if the City managed to reduce the value of my house by $150,000 within one year.
Finally, we are close to winning our current civil lawsuit, and we have great hope for our federal case. As a local court has already found in our favor on numerous occasions, it seems ill informed to suggest our legal efforts are "frivolous." And another oft quoted phrase that is completely inaccurate, is that we are wasting tax payer money. The City is insured for such legal suits, and therefore the insurer pays for the City's defense. FCA is the group burdened with having to raise money, in order to get to the truth, and have our City government actually follow its own rules and laws.
I very much appreciate this chance for civil discourse, and I welcome more of your thoughts around this and other issues. Oddly, I’m guessing we may have more in common than your email would seem to imply:
I’m a long term Franklin resident (although I wasn’t born here and didn't go to school here)
I am fiscally very conservative
I am very law and order focused (I follow the rules and believe everyone else should as well)
I am very pro growth (although good growth, not garbage jobs and highly polluting industries)
I am very pro community and have volunteered literally thousands of hours to that end
I’m very familiar with how our tax system works, and what will and won’t reduce tax burdens
I despise politics, and have never worked with or accepted any funds from any PAC
Franklin Resident and Taxpayer
Executive Director FCA
At no time during your incoherent rambling here did you come anywhere close to a rational thought……anyone reading this is now dumber as a result. You have swayed no opinions and May God have mercy on your soul. Your organization is a blight on the city of Franklin, kindly piss off because the majority of people don’t want you here! Kaz
we wish you and your family a joyous and blessed Easter. On this the most holiest of days, we're thankful that God has had mercy on all our souls in sacrificing his son for our sins. We, at FCA, a local, community based, volunteer, not-for-profit charity, (whose membership is approaching 200 people, and whose donors exceed 1000 people) sincerely hope your day, as well as your family's, is filled with peace and happiness.
Executive Director FCA