Hilliard Votes To Let Rep. Steve Stivers Stay In Office Rent-Free
Located on Municipal Way in downtown Hilliard, the office is Representative Steve Stivers’ largest outside of Washington, D.C. -- and now it will be his rent-free.
Hilliard City Council passed the emergency measure to suspend the $1,000 monthly payments for the remainder of the congressman's two year lease -- or until sequestration ends -- due to a reduction in Stiver's representational allowance after Congress failed to resolve a budget.
Council member Jim Ashenhurst said the deal just makes good financial sense for the city.
"The building could be left there unused, as it had been prior to him moving in there. The building had sat vacant for a number of years," said Ashenhurst.
Instead, he said, the city will continue to collect income taxes from the five full-time employees that staff Stivers' Hilliard office.
Longtime Hilliard resident Tom Gallagher said it seems city council is playing politics -- with taxpayer dollars.
"Hilliard taxes have gone up a lot. In the time I've lived here, my property taxes have more than doubled," said Gallagher.
A spokesperson for Representative Stivers told 10TV that the congressman has reimbursed the city for upgrades and improvements it made to the building since taking over the lease in April of 2011.
Ashenhurst said politics aside, keeping the Hilliard office open benefits all of Stivers’ local constituents -- from the right and left.
"I don't think any of us on council thought of it as a republican-democrat issue, we thought of it as having the elected representative available to the citizens of the community," Ashenhurst said.
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