Lordstown council debates tax abatements

LORDSTOWN — Village Council wants to revamp its tax abatement program for companies by shortening the abatement period and reducing the abatement amount.

The ordinance, which was placed into first reading at Monday’s village council meeting, would provide companies with no more than a 10-year abatement period and an average of 50-percent tax forgiveness. However, Mayor Arno Hill said the abatement period can go up to 15 years, and council is willing to go to five years at 75 percent and five years at 25 percent so it works out to 50 percent of taxes.

“All of this is subject to negotations,” he said. “The point of the ordinance is to tighten up the rules for granting abatements.”

The abatement issue will be discussed further at the Sept. 3 council meeting.

Lordstown officials in January approved a 75-percent, 10-year tax abatement for TJX HomeGoods on the construction of a new distribution center on Ellsworth Bailey Road. The 1.2-million-square-foot regional distribution center would bring about 1,000 jobs and cost between $140 million and $170 million to construct.

The enterprise zone agreement does not excuse TJX HomeGoods from all taxes. The abatement only applies to the tax that would be levied against the increase in value of the property once the facility is constructed, tooled and operating. In exchange for the abatement, which is expected to save the company between $100,000 and $125,000 per year, the company promised the school district $500,000.

Once operating at full capacity, the future center at Hallock Young and Ellsworth Bailey roads is expected to generate $200,000 to $350,000 in income and property tax revenue, said Lordstown Local Schools Superintendent Terry Armstrong. Construction is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2024.

In addition to TJX receiving a tax abatement, the Lordstown Energy Center received one as well. As part of a tax donation agreement with Lordstown schools, the energy plant will provide the district with annual money in exchange for a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement. When the plant opened in October 2018, it began providing an annual donation of $1 million for the first five years, $1.25 million for the next five years and $1.5 million for the final five years.

“The schools have been excellent recipients of the energy plant,” said Hill. “They’ve received the new track, the scoreboard and new sports uniforms.”

In other business, council:

l Held first reading on a purchase agreement with Sarchione Chevrolet for a new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado truck for the utility department at a cost of $38,393.

l Appointed a new full-time police officer, Brett Blank, and a new part-time dispatcher, Kenneth Schick. Schick recently retired as chief of the Warren Township Fire Department.

Hill said Lordstown has its own dispatching center and is not part of the Trumbull County 911 Center. Lordstown also dispatches for Warren Township police and fire.


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