This morning I read in the Stillwater Newspress an article entitled “Chamber briefed on local issues”. A couple items jumped out at me.
1. Rex Horning (president of Stillwater National Bank, also a member of the OSU Foundation Board of Govenors and the OSU Board of Trustees). Mr. Horning is chair of the Long Range Task Force for the Chamber of Commerce. He said in the Chamber board meeting held thursday, that capacity for business and expansion has been identified as a priority. The city’s LIMITED inventory of AVAILABE sites, if not addressed, will SLOW ECONOMY GROWTH and JOB CREATION.
Yet, it is Mr. Horning who is so adamently supporting OSU’s acquisition of MORE property in Stillwater, when they already have 24,674 acres. Much of that is vacant. And there are ongoing “negotiations” for property by OSU BESIDES the property North of the current campus, south of campus, and east of campus. OSU pays NO property taxes on property owned in Stillwater, to the City of Stillwater . It seems there is a contradition here. One speaks to the chamber and one as OSU foundation/trustee boards. Is there a confilict of interest?
2. Dr. Walter Swanson (superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools) told the board that the Stillwater Public School district experienced a seven percent rate of growth in assessed valuation as a result of a strong Stillwater eonomy. BUT because of the state’s funding formula, not all of the tax revenue growth will benefit the district. He continued, that even though state funding is not adequate, Stillwater has been able to maintain its commitment to quality education.
…….Because? I may be wrong, but wonder if that is due to high property taxes for the citizens of Stillwater. The city will be losing property taxes from apprpoximately 410 properties. At various meetings concerning the school, Dr. Swanson has stated that the loss of revenue, due to the OSU acquisitions will cause little hardship to the Stillwater Schools. It has also been stated that OSU will make up the difference for the loss, which remains to be seen.