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Mathews board of education OKs tax abatement

VIENNA — The Mathews Board of Education on Wednesday gave its approval for a 15-year, 70 percent tax abatement for Berk Enterprises Inc., which is planning to construct a $9.7 million warehouse off Ridge Road.

Vienna Township trustees and the Trumbull Career and Technical Center also have to give their approval on the abatement request.

Berk Enterprises Inc. is a Warren-based company that distributes products for the food service and amusement industries.

School Superintendent Russell McQuaide said as part of the board approving the tax-incentive proposal, officials from Berk Enterprises have agreed to provide the Mathews schools with an annual credit of $6,000 per year to apply toward the purchase of food service disposable products for a period of eight years starting when the facility is operational in early 2024. He said total amount to the schools will be $48,000 over eight years.

“We have met with company officials. The schools spend a lot of money each year on paper products and containers for food services. Berk Enterprises can provide a lot of that for the schools. It is very generous of them. We are grateful,” McQuaide said.

Berk Enterprises officials also have agreed to work with the school district’s Career Based Intervention program to provide work opportunities to students who meet the employment expectations. The company also has said it will pledge support of the school’s athletic programs and booster groups.

Vienna Trustee Chairman Phil Pegg said previously the warehouse will be on Ridge Road property owned by the Western Reserve Port Authority. Company officials said a groundbreaking for the warehouse is planned in early October.

Pegg said the township and Mathews schools will benefit from the property tax from the business.

“This will be the first tax abatement the township has had since 2008,” said Pegg, who added the last tax abatement was for Delphi.

Pegg said trustees will take action on the abatement after the school board does.

After the votes are secured, the matter will be brought before the Trumbull County commissioners for their vote.

Last fall, Robert Berk, president of Berk Enterprises, said the company plans to consolidate its headquarters and warehouse operation near the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The Western Reserve Port Authority agreed to sell the 36 acres to Berk Enterprises for $295,000.

The property, next to the Antique Tractor Club of Trumbull County, west of the airport, is minutes away from state Route 11 and nearby state Route 82. It has been owned for years by the port authority but has gone undeveloped.

In other business at Wednesday’s school board meeting, the board affirmed its intent to sell 115 acres of property located at the board offices, 4096 Cadwallader Sonk Road, and to seek professional auction services for a public auction.

Treasurer Brad Panak said the 12 acres the board offices and parking lot are on will remain with the district.

McQuaide said the property has been reparceled.

In other action, the board approved a ground lease purchase agreement providing for the financing of the construction and additon of classrooms and administrative facilities at Baker Elementary School. Panak said this will allow him to seek financing for the proposed $4.2 million project.

The project will be put out to bid once the financing is secured.

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