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Township trustees meet behind closed doors to discuss tax plan

By Carol McIntire
Editor

Washington Twp. trustees met behind closed doors Feb. 18 to discuss a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with a school superintendent and county commissioner.

Trustee Chairman Darrell Shafer said trustees met with Carrollton Schools Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi and Commissioner Jeff Ohler under a new exemption to Ohio’s Open Meeting Law that allows them to “negotiate with other political subdivisions regarding economic development applications”, including a JEDD.

Trustees approached village of Carrollton officials last year to discuss forming a JEDD involving land on State Route  (SR) 9 north of Carrollton, including land on which Carroll County Energy has an option to purchase and land included in the Commerce Park.

Neither Carrollton Schools or Carroll County Commissioners are involved in the formation of the JEDD or in the division of income generate by it. Funds generated by the economic development district would be divided between the village and township according to a contract the village’s legal council is currently reviewing.

Commissioners previously stated concerns about the formation of the economic development district and how it could affect development of the land in the Carroll County Commerce Park. They invited trustees and village officials to attend an open commissioners meeting to discuss the matter. Shafer attended a commissioners meeting, saying it was difficult for trustees to attend a 9 a.m. meeting when they all have “day jobs.” He asked commissioners to attend an evening trustee meeting.

Ohler arrived midway through the executive session, which lasted until 8:54 p.m.

Following the executive session, Shafer stated county commissioners “are not involved” in the formation of the JEDD. Kip Wahlers, the trustee’s attorney for the JEDD formation, said there is “no language in the agreement stating the school district has anything to do with the JEDD.”

Shafer said the formation of a JEDD allows the township and village to collect income tax from workers during the construction phase of development and then when complete, from employees. Business and industry will also pay a corporate income tax. The idea behind the JEDD is that each entity involved has something to offer: the village has tax codes and the township has services.

Shafer noted there is no specific outline on how the funds from a JEDD must be spent, but noted they must be used for economic development.

“There are all kinds of options,” he said. The money could be used for roads, sewer and even wireless Internet service.”

Trustees and their legal counsel noted the creation of the economic development district is still in the “draft” stage.

Wahler said if the contract is signed by the village, public hearings must be held and it must be approved by county commissioners. Fifty-one percent of residents living within the boundaries of the JEDD must also approve it before it can be created. Trustees previously stated this would be completed via a petition.


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