July 31, 2014

Medina
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Granger Twp. residents oppose corporate tax break

MEDINA — Medina County officials are working with Granger Township trustees on a Community Reinvestment Area proposal in hopes of luring a new corporate headquarters.

But the proposal is drawing opposition from some residents.

County officials said a large corporation is interested in building a headquarters somewhere in Granger Township’s commercial corridor along state Route 18. The company also is looking at a site in Summit County.

Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., said that creating the Community Reinvestment Area would allow the county to grant 50 percent tax abatement for up to 15 years for the headquarters’ project.

“We’re competing with other counties across the state offering even more attractive terms, so we want to put our best foot forward to attract new business,” she told the county commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

Dentler declined to identify the corporation.

The proposed CRA would run along the north side of state Route 18, from Beach Road east to Coddingville and Dunsha roads. The northern boundary would be Granger Road.

The proposed tax abatement would apply only to the commercial area along Route 18 and the road frontage along Beach, Granger and Coddingville roads.

Dentler said that the abatement would only apply to the value of new improvements, and any existing taxes within the abatement zone will continue to be paid.

Robert Kelly, a Granger Township resident and member of the Highland school board, said he supported creating the reinvestment area. He stressed he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a school board member.

Kelly said commercial development would help relieve the tax burden on the township’s homeowners whose property taxes now provide most of the revenue for the school district.

Kelly said a major business would take some of the weight off taxpayers because the company’s taxes would generate about $300,000 total over the next 15 years, and another $600,000 over the following 15 years.

“A lot of schools have a big enough commercial tax base that it relieves what residents have to pay,” he said. “I hear it all the time, the attitude that Granger is anti-business and we’ve got to change that.”

But some residents aren’t happy about the proposal.

Ron Dorris, 4990 Bambeck Road, told the commissioners that it isn’t fair to give tax abatements to businesses while increasing residential property taxes.

Dorris pointed to the new Ohio law eliminating the 12.5 percent rollback provided to homeowners for all new levies.

“The state took away the 12.5 percent rollback on property tax,” he said. “They’re taking away from the middle class, then we’re going to turn around and give a property tax rebate for property that was once residential and is now commercial.”

Nine other Bambeck Road residents at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting presented a signed petition opposing the CRA.

Dentler stressed that a CRA doesn’t automatically mean tax abatements are granted.

“One of the points I tried to make is that just because a CRA is in place, there are no guaranteed abatements to any business,” she said. “They must be negotiated individually before any construction can begin,” she said.

Dentler said the commissioners have the authority to issue a resolution in support of the abatement but usually defer to the township trustees’ wishes.
Commissioner Pat Geissman said the board will follow Granger’s lead.

“If Granger rejects it, then we will, too,” she said.

The trustees have scheduled a public meeting Monday to give residents the opportunity to voice their opinions and to hear more details from Dentler.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.