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Lordstown board tables motion on income tax sharing

LORDSTOWN — While the Lordstown Board of Education did give approval Wednesday to a community reinvestment agreement between the village and General Motors, it tabled a motion on waiving income tax sharing with the village for the planned battery-cell plant.

Board President Cheryl Kistler said at the special meeting the board needs more time to discuss the income tax sharing before making a final decision.

The school board has been asked by the village not to take any income tax. Anytime the village is involved in a tax abatement request of more than 50 percent, it is required to enter into an income tax sharing agreement with the schools.

Mayor Arno Hill has said the village’s main revenue stream has been declining in the past three years and is the reason the village is seeking all the income tax.

The amount at stake for the school district is about $225,000 each year.

Hill said the school district would still get the property tax, which could be $500,000 to $600,000.

“We need to spend time discussing this further as a whole board. I would not want to act on this tonight until the entire board discusses this,” board member Niki Reid said.

The community reinvestment agreement is for a tax abatement of 75 percent over 15 years.

The board’s regular meeting is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at the high school with a work session followed by the meeting.

Several members of village council and village officials attended the special meeting waiting to see what the board decided because GM applied for the tax abatement and needs the schools and village’s approval.

Councilman Ron Radtka said council is scheduled to meet again 6 p.m. Tuesday to act on the community reinvestment agreement and will check with legal adviser Paul Dutton if it can do that motion, then wait for the income tax sharing motion until after the board of education takes official action.

“There is some uncertainty about this and how it will affect council. I do not believe we will be able to act on the income tax sharing agreement until an agreement is reached between the village and schools, but we should be able to vote on the community reinvestment agreement, which the board acted on,” he said.

Kellie Bordner, the planning / zoning administrator / economic development director, said she left a message with Dutton after the board meeting to get his recommendation on what council will or will not be able to do on Tuesday.

Bordner said she is not sure if the two motions are linked or can be voted on separately. If they are not codependent then one motion will be able to be approved Tuesday.

“All abatements have to be in place and approved by council before a project can move forward for site plan review,” she said.

Officials said in addition to the Lordstown board, the Trumbull Career and Technical Center board also has to act on the income tax sharing since the center gets funds from the village. TCTC is scheduled to meet today.

Schools Treasurer Mark Ferrara said the motion the board approved will allow village council to also move forward on granting the CRA agreement.

The location for the 2.5 million- to 2.75 million-square-foot facility is the 7300 block of Tod Avenue between Salt Springs and Hallock Young roads.

Officials said the battery-cell plant could bring 1,100 jobs with a payroll of $45 million, meaning $450,000 in income tax. Hill has said because of the loss of the GM plant and income tax to the village, it needs the money, whereas the school district could receive more than half a million dollars in property tax annually once the plant is built.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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