CAMDEN — Camden Village Council met Thursday, Aug. 4, and discussed development and administrative issues.
Deputy Village Administrator of Camden, Benjamin Gunderson, updated council on Project Green, an ongoing Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) agreement with Ohio Slitting and Storage, also known as Greenpoint Metals, which is located in Camden.
In this agreement, Greenpoint Metals proposed an expansion to their business by building an 88,000 square foot facility, which is a multi-million-dollar endeavor according to officials, totaling around $17.3 million..
According to Gunderson, Greenpoint Metals currently pays close to $29,000 in property taxes, $6,200 of which is revenue for the village, and generates $20,000 in income taxes.
Project Green, with the expansion of Greenpoint Metals facilities, promises an additional 23 employees and expanded payroll by $1.53 million, and would see Greenpoint Metals paying $90,000 to $125,000 in property taxes, with the village collecting nearly $25,000 in revenue and generating $15,300 in income taxes.
Greenpoint Metals has requested a 100 percent CRA agreement with the village for 15 years, with the deadline for the project to be May 2023. The funding for the project will not come from the village’s general or operating funds, but from a series of TIFs (Tax Increment Financing) and the CRA.
Council made the unanimous decision to approve the drafting and forward progression of these ordinances, and looks to see Project Green’s completion in 2023.
A short article regarding the details of the project was posted to the village’s Facebook page and reads as follows:
“In recent Council meetings, we have discussed an economic development opportunity called Project Green. We are pleased to be able to announce today that Project Green refers to a multi-million dollar, 88,000-square-foot expansion of the Ohio Slitting and Storage (OSS) business (aka Greenpoint Metals due to recent acquisition.) Estimated completion date for the expansion in Camden is May 2023.
“OSS provides full slitting and storage services as a recognized toll processor, as well as transports coils when contracted by their customers. Recently, the demand for their products and services increased significantly creating a lack of storage space and also traffic-related issues on our North Main Street area when multiple trucks are waiting to load. With the recent development on Camden’s Community Reinvestment Area and through the collaborative efforts of the Preble County Development Partnership (PCDP), Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) and JobsOhio, we were able to put together an attractive incentive package that ultimately secured the project for Ohio and particularly for the Village of Camden.
“Contingent on completion of the anticipated incentives, OSS will construct the 88,000 square foot expansion that will expand their storage capabilities and help to eliminate traffic issues. Beyond their own investment needed to build this building extension, OSS is committed to bringing in an additional 23 jobs to the community.
“We are proud to partner with OSS on this project and pleased that they will be expanding their business here in Camden.”
Gunderson also gave council a presentation listing his achievements with the village since his start date of Aug. 20, 2021, noting his involvement in Project Green, the Camden Technology Center and the remodeling process of Camden Town Hall.
“With Project Green, giving credit where it’s due, the Community Reinvestment Area was started before I got here; however, I was a part of that. If we look at Project Green, that project would not have happened without a CRA.
“What I have done for (Project Green,) I have been a part of that from the beginning, making sure we get the CRA approval from the school district. Without the CRA (Greenpoint Metals) would not have put in an investment here. It’s as plain as that,” stated Gunderson.
Gunderson elaborated, though council member Kelly Doran and former Mayor Karen Moss started the process for the CRA in question, it was he himself who saw it through to completion by presenting the appropriate ordinances.
“It’s a pretty monster project, especially for the small village of Camden, so to be able to facilitate and be a part of that project, I’ve been pretty lucky to do that,” Gunderson said of his involvement with Project Green.
Gunderson also noted his interaction with the establishment of Medship, a business operated by Rob Jarrell from The Dover, looking to set up stakes in Camden in the coming years. In recent meetings, Jarrell expressed his frustrations with Gunderson and the village council for miscommunication regarding additional funding for his business, which Jarrell claims is a “multi multimillion dollar business.” Though the issue was resolved through extended discussion, it has remained a sensitive issue.
Gunderson also included his work toward the Camden Technology Center. “When putting that project together, I was able to work with architects to create some preliminary designs, drawings and renderings. I then went to our State Rep. to present that project to him and seek capitol funds.
“Upon doing so we were able, as a village, to receive $175,000 from the state capitol budget, as well as being able to work toward getting the property donated.”
In addition, Gunderson discussed the Dollar General Market Place coming to Camden. “When first presented, they pretty much presented an all-metal building. Upon further discussions, we were able to not only significantly increase the project in terms of the cost, but just the quality of the building itself. When they submitted their application to the county the projected cost was $850,000, I think that’s a standard permit. They announced it was a $1.95 million project. I’m not saying all of that was because of me — I think certainly how the economy is and inflation played a huge factor in that, but that was a huge win.”
According to Gunderson, he has also been a part of many funding endeavors for various projects in Camden, meeting with associates at Somerville Bank to discuss funding opportunities.
Gunderson also took credit for “leading the efforts” in Camden’s zoning code implementation, but “most notably” he observed his work on the business incentives regarding TIFs and CRAs, and the revenue Camden will glean from them.
Lastly, Gunderson said whenever a village official is unable to represent Camden in political settings, he is delegated to take that role for the village. He finished his presentation by submitting a resolution which would increase his base salary to $50,000 a year and exclude medical provision, as well as approving the resolution as an emergency action to go into affect by the next pay period.
Council member Jeff Steele expressed his concern Gunderson is currently, by technicality, a part-time employee and still on a probationary period.
Council member Kelly Doran made a motion to approve the resolution, which would see Gunderson become a full-time employee with the Village of Camden, and grant his prior requests regarding salary.
Due to the absence of council member Judy Michael, and lack of a quorum, all votes were required to be in favor of the resolution.
Village fiscal officer Becky Wilson was not present during the Aug. 4, meeting, and therefore Steele was unwilling to cast his vote of approval, requesting a chance to discuss the details with her.
Council member Debbie Hickman remarked, “We’re in the middle of a lot of stuff and if Ben leaves, I don’t know what we’d do.”
Doran, too, commented. “I know that if we don’t retain Ben that — I don’t know of anyone in how many miles that could pick up where he’s left off, or begin to create what he’s created for us. That’s why we brought him in. We’re just getting started. This is really the direction the village needs and wants to go in and I think Ben is the ticket at the moment.”
In other business:
• Gunderson presented council with a request to raise the Camden Police Department’s hourly pay by $5 dollars, as Camden has one of lowest pay scales for law enforcement in the State of Ohio, according to Gunderson. Alternatively, he suggested setting members of the department on a fixed salary, which would provide officers with a fixed pay rate and exempt them from working overtime hours.
Currently, the village pays its officer for 20 to 30 hours of overtime a pay period, which has costly tolls for the village. The funding for the request would be paid for from the police budget, as a lack of staffing has left a large sum remaining. Council made the unanimous decision to approve the pay increase, but would like to further discuss the potential of fixed salaries.
• Council voted to pay the village’s annual investment in the Preble County Development Partnership.
Camden Village Council meetings are public meetings held on the first and third Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. at Camden Town Hall.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13.