YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – During its meeting last Monday, March 20, 2023, the Mahoning County Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC) authorized sustaining tax incentive programs that pertain to 13 businesses.
The TIRC meets annually to discuss the tax benefits given to businesses and organizations. It has 14 members, who are drawn from the county, townships, school districts, and municipalities.
The county’s tax increment financing program, which authorities claim has helped strengthen infrastructure in development corridors throughout the county, dominated the conversation. A portion of a business’s new real estate taxes are transferred under a TIF into a different fund used to pay for public infrastructure development. Local governments have approved and overseen it.
The TIRC renewed four TIFs that affect six distinct businesses and the local infrastructure.
For instance, Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley facility has generated revenue of $4.5 million. The program has so far provided $4.19 million in funding for adjacent road and traffic signal improvements.
Others include a TIF in Jackson Township, where Ohio Utilities Protection Services built new headquarters and Pur Foods expanded. New infrastructure worth $138,936 has been financed in part by the initiative.
Alan Hemphill, a trustee representing Jackson Township, stated that “this program enables us to address these issues,” noting that small towns like his lack the resources for significant road and repaving projects. It prevents them from bearing the tax burden of the residents.
A TIF for a different project, the Inn at Poland Way, was also approved. $329,684 has been raised for new road upgrades through this initiative.
The review committee also approved the continuing enterprise zone agreements for ARS Recycling in Coitsville, Trumbull Industries, and Nordson Xaloy in Austintown. All businesses reached or exceeded their investment goals, and only one, Xaloy, fell short of its employment goal by a small number of employees.
The corporation agreed to create 143 jobs as part of its enterprise zone agreement, but in 2022 only reported 138 workers.
The Western Reserve Port Authority’s public finance manager, Sarah Lown, stated that “they had actually created 143 jobs” before the outbreak. While the corporation had anticipated investing $40 million, it actually spent $45.43 million.
The port authority manages the county’s incentive programs.
A state-run program called enterprise zones enables local governments to provide real property tax breaks to attract new businesses and employment.
Additionally, the TIRC extended Community Reinvestment Act contracts for four Jackson Township businesses: Hilltrux Tank Lines, Liberty Steel, Republic Steel Metals, and National Industrial Lumber Co.
The most recent extension at the Boardman Southern Park Mall, a sixth CRA project, was also extended.
Companies investing in specific locations are eligible for 15 years of tax savings on new real estate because of CRA agreements. A CRA does not entail committing to a predetermined quantity of employment or investment, unlike an enterprise zone agreement.