MEDINA — Medina County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday to create a Community Reinvestment Area along state Route 18 in Granger Township.
The township trustees approved the proposal in a 2-0 vote Monday. Trustee Terry Berry abstained because her parents own land within the proposed area.
County Commissioner Stephen D. Hambley praised the decision.
“We know that Route 18 is going to develop in Granger Township. The question is how valuable we want it to be,” he said. “Incentivizing it makes sure that it’s an increased value to the community.”
Granger is competing with Summit County as the potential site for a corporate headquarters. Officials have not identified the corporation.
Officials say the CRA will offer a commercial tax abatement rate of up to 50 percent for up to 15 years that could entice the company to come to Medina County.
While Ohio law allows CRAs to offer abatements up to 100 percent, anything over 50 percent requires the approval of local school boards.
The tax abatement will apply only to the commercial area along Route 18 and the road frontage along Beach, Granger and Coddingville roads.
The resolution also creates a seven-member Community Reinvestment Area Housing Council. Each county commissioner will appoint one member, and the county Planning Commission will appoint two more. Those five members then will appoint two more who must be residents of Granger Township.
It also creates a Tax Review Council, staffed by three appointees of county commissioners, two appointed by township trustees, the county auditor or representative and a representative of Highland Schools.
The CRA will 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.
Granger Township Trustee Richard Pace said the CRA will not change where the commercial districts are and will not rezone residential areas.
Pace said CRAs must have a residential component and the residential properties within the CRA now may qualify for a tax abatement on any future improvements. Those properties will qualify for decreasing abatement amounts, starting at 100 percent and dropping to 20 percent over the next nine years according to the resolution.
The proposal has drawn opposition from some residents who live nearby, Ron Dorris, 4990 Bambeck Road, told commissioners last week 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.
“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 last week’s commissioners’ meeting presented a signed petition opposing the CRA. Many also spoke out at Monday’s trustees meeting.
Pace said he and Trustee John Ginley Jr. considered the overall benefit to the township.
“It’s a complex issue, and there’s room for a lot of viewpoints,” Pace said. “What I concluded is that there’s an opportunity here to help keep down the residential tax rates, by broadening the tax base.”
Pace said 91.2 percent of real estate taxes are paid by residential taxes and only 8.8 percent are paid by commercial entities. He added that 62 percent of the revenue Highland Schools receives is from local sources, mostly taxes.
Pace said the district’s cost per pupil rose from $7,800 in 2008 to $8,500 in 2012.
“That’s efficient given that the state average is $12,000; but when you look at the increase over those years, the question becomes how will future increases be funded? And one of the ways to fund them is to broaden the tax base,” he said. “It helps keep the effective (millage) rates down.”
Rob Kelly, a Highland school board member speaking as a private citizen, said last week that the company’s taxes would take some weight off residents by generating about $300,000 total in tax revenue over the next 15 years, and another $600,000 over the following 15 years.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or email@example.com.
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