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Howland OKs tax abatement for Liberty Steel expansion

HOWLAND — Trustees on Wednesday approved a 10-year, 60-percent tax abatement for an expansion to Liberty Steel Industries Inc.

Nick Coggins with the Trumbull County Planning Commission said the expansion at 2007 Larchmont Ave. meets all the minimum requirements to qualify for the Ohio Enterprise Zone Program, which is run through the state and administered by the county.

The expansion will be 32,000 square feet and will move Liberty Steel’s slitting facility from its current location on Dietz Road to free up space, according to Coggins. It is projected to create 15 new positions with an average annual salary of $50,000 per employee.

Jim Wellers Jr., owner of Liberty Steel Inc., said so far this year the company has added 12 new hires. Last year, the company added 22 jobs and the year before it added 17 jobs.

“Basically, we just need to move across the street and continue to hire more people,” Wellers said.

Coggins stressed the tax abatement is for new, real property and will only apply to the expansion, not Liberty Steel’s existing facility, which will continue to pay the same taxes.

All three trustees expressed their support for Liberty Steel.

“They’ve been supportive of the township. They could have built this building in Lordstown, but they built it here,” Trustee Rick Clark said. He said trustees are in support of the creation of new jobs in the township.

In other business, trustees:

• Formally expressed their support for regionalizing a transit system through the Western Reserve Transit Authority;

• Approved a one-year extension to the prohibition of permits for retail dispensaries of marijuana within the township;

• Accepted $28,085 from the Ohio Public Works Commission and committed $9,000 for the preservation of about 13 acres of wetlands north of North Road. The project is funded through the Clean Ohio program and administered through the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments. It will help the township protect wetlands adjacent to a section it already owns, according to township administrator Darlene St. George;

• Approved a grant application to the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for the Transportation Alternatives Program for sidewalk installation along Willow Drive NE and High Street NE. The total estimate for the project is $192,374.50 with a 20-percent local match requirement of $38,474.90. St. George said some sidewalks are already in place but the project would “fill the gaps” to improve pedestrian travel;

• Declared two properties as nuisances, 696 Shadowood Lane and 2425 Overland Ave.;

• Heard from fire Chief James Pantalone that the fire department will be holding an open house and health fair 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Some health screenings will be available. Howland police and public works employees also will be at the fair with some of their newer vehicles, free gun locks and items for children, according to police Chief Nick Roberts;

• Announced limb and branch pickup will begin Oct. 28 on the east side of North Road and Nov. 11 on the west side and run for two weeks. Residents must have branches out on Oct. 27 and Nov. 10, respectively, as trucks will make one pass down each street. Residents whose trash is collected through Republic can also place up to 10 bags of leaves out with their regular garbage, and they will be collected for free;

• Announced the last outdoor farmers market will be Saturday. The last Bolindale farmers market was Wednesday.

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