July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Sharon Township trucking dispatch center is a ‘go’

SHARON TWP. — Medina County commissioners on Tuesday approved the construction of a $10.2 million dispatch center for Seville-based Panther Trucking, bringing 330 new employees and $1.2 million in payroll.

Township trustees last week unanimously approved a 50-percent tax abatement on about $8 million of the estimated $10.2 million property for 14 years.

“They approved the tax abatement and that was really the final step as far as the county is concerned, at least as far as their ability to break ground,” county Economic Development Director Bethany Dentler said.

Highland Schools Treasurer Neil Barnes said that if the project was taxed at 100 percent, the district would see about $97,000 a year, or about $1.36 million over the life of the contract.

But with a 50 percent abatement, the district only will be getting $57,500 a year, which includes a $9,000 annual compensation payment, or a total of about $805,000 over the 14 years of the abatement.

That’s a difference of $554,000. But school officials say something is better than nothing.

“It’s not the full amount of tax we’d get, but it’s still more dollars coming in, and so it’s a win-win,” school board President Norm Christopher said. “Generally, we are in favor of doing whatever we can to shift some of the tax burden off the residents. We’re excited about it.”

Panther had reached an agreement with Highland Schools to pay the district $9,000 a year to help make up for the tax dollars the school would lose out on because of the abatement.

“We will go back to Highland Schools next month to finalize the compensation agreement. We didn’t want to hold the company up from breaking ground,” Dentler said. “The deal is negotiated with the schools, it just needs final board approval.”

Dentler said trustees passed their resolution after this month’s school board meeting, so the finalization of the agreement will have to wait until May’s meeting.

The call center will be constructed by Hemingway Development, a division of GEIS. Panther Trucking will lease the site for about a year and then take ownership of the completed building.

Dentler said Hemingway Development will be the first company to take advantage of the new community reinvestment area, which was approved earlier this year and went into effect April 10.

The 223-acre CRA stretches from Windfall Road at the western border to Beach Road at the east. Its northern boundary is along the township line on Medina Line Road and it stretches south, stopping just north of Ridgewood Road, directly across from Pinnacle Sports.

Township Trustee Raymond Lurtz said last week that the location on Medina Line Road between Interstates 71 and 77 was an ideal one to attract businesses.

He said township officials are “very much” in favor of providing tax incentives to businesses in that location.

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