By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
At the Jan. 3 meeting, Grove City Council agreed to expand a community reinvestment area.
According to the city, a reinvestment area is an economic tool that provides property tax exemptions to landowners making investments in property. They become eligible to receive a tax abatement for improvements.
“It is the best tool we have to attract companies to Ohio,” said Kyle Rauch, development director for the city of Grove City.
Rauch said typically abatements run for 10 or 15 years and at the end of that time, the city can start to collect real estate taxes.
The legislation approved by council will allow the city to expand the community reinvestment area around Seeds Road, State Route 665, North Meadows Drive and Haughn Road. The legislation says that due to the real and perceived impacts on properties located in proximity to the Franklin County Landfill, it is necessary to provide economic incentives to encourage desirable development in this geographical area of the city.
Properties that would benefit from the expanded community reinvestment area include the First Baptist Church of Grove City, the Buckeye Ranch, Zuber Crossing LLC, and Richard T. Barbee Jr. as these properties abut the current boundaries.
Pastor Dave Earley, with the First Baptist Church, addressed council and said the church has land that is under utilized and he would like to see it developed.
“I am for better jobs and better business in the community,” he said.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said that community reinvestment areas allow the city to contend with other communities for business.
“The city was competing with numerous communities for Walmart,” said Stage. “I do not think they would have come to the city without a tax abatement.”
According to Rauch, Walmart Distribution was under a 15-year tax abatement because it was located within a community reinvestment area. The city had to go without approximately $6.6 million is real estate taxes during the abatement period. After the 15 years, the center has generated about $13 million in real estate taxes for the city.
Rauch said 40 abatements will be expiring from 2020 through 2026, totaling more than $56 million. South-Western City Schools District is set to receive roughly $1 million from those funds and Jackson Township should receive approximately $279,000.
“It is also important to note that we (the city) are not forgoing all taxes,” said Rauch. “The land values are being taxed.”
Councilman Roby Schottke called a community reinvestment area an economic engine.
“What we are doing is generating jobs and generating an income tax for the city,” he said.
The only council member who voted against the expansion of the reinvestment area was Christine Houk.
“There are pieces I can’t get behind,” she said. “The CRA deserves more discussion. The government is not in the position to pick and choose who should benefit from this.”
In other news, with a 3-2 vote, council named Ted Berry as the president of council. Council members Mark Sigrist and Christine Houk voted against Berry’s nomination as president. Sigrist nominated Houk for the position.
As part of the first of the year organizational meeting, Schottke was named chair for the lands committee, Randy Holt will serve as the finance chair, Houk will serve as the service chair, and Sigrist will head the safety committee.