YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Two of three Mahoning County corporations receiving tax abatements under the county-administered Enterprise Zone Program have exceeded their investment commitments, the Tax Incentives Review Board learned Friday. .
“Compliance has been outstanding this year with business,” said Sarah Lown, Western Reserve Port Authority public finance officer and Mahoning County incentive manager. “They all met or exceeded their investment targets and job creation targets, and each expects further growth in the coming year.”
Nordson Xaloy leads the job gains, which is in the fourth year of a 10-year 60% tax abatement that ends in the 2027 tax year. Westlake-based Nordson Corp. , announced in 2016 plans to consolidate its existing screw and barrel operations in Youngstown, New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Pulaski, Virginia, into the former Tamarkin Co. warehouse on Victoria Road in Austintown.
Nordson has pledged to invest $40 million and create 143 jobs over the life of the reduction. So far, it has invested $45.4 million and added 183 jobs, according to the enterprise zone overview presented at the meeting.
The plant, which produces barrels and screws, is now part of Xaloy Holdings LLC, which is owned by Chicago-based Altair Investments. Altair acquired the Xaloy assets from Nordson in 2021.
ARS Recycling in Coitsville also received a 60% rebate for 10 years, beginning in the 2014 tax year. It planned to invest $790,000 and create two jobs over the life of the rebate. In the eighth year, the company said it invested $1.2 million and created six jobs.
“They’re doing great,” Lown said. As the federal infrastructure bill is implemented, ARS expects to become “big guns” and hire more people.
The third company in the county’s Enterprise Zone program, Trumbull Manufacturing in Austintown, met both its investment goal, $533,000, and its job creation goal, two jobs, starting in the fourth year of his deal, which began in tax year 2019.
In 2021, Nordson paid $184,548 in property taxes and was forgiven $21,226 for the Austintown plant. ARS paid $32,413 in property taxes and was forgiven $8,957 for the same year. Trumbull Manufacturing paid $25,169 and was forgiven $3,787.
The Tax Incentives Review Board, which is made up of county officials and representatives from local governments, school districts, businesses and workers, also reviewed reports from businesses using tax increase funding. This mechanism, available to local governments, allows monies that would have been paid in taxes to be directed to a separate fund to pay for public infrastructure improvements in a defined district.
A total of nine companies have TIF districts in Mahoning County, including the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course racino in Austintown, which has a 50% TIF that began in tax year 2015.
Hollywood Gaming is one of six companies that have 50% tiffs in the county. The others are Ohio Utilities Protection Service, Truck World, Fed Ex Freight and Pur Foods, all in North Jackson, and Inn at Poland Way in Poland. Companies operating under 75% of TIF are Salem Hotel and Early Bird Learning Center, both in Salem, and Aqua Ohio in Struthers.
The TIFs do not have job creation targets but do have a list of infrastructure projects that are approved to be financed by TIF funds, Lown said.
“We’re definitely using the racino funding in the TIF to make sure our infrastructure is maintained,” said Austintown Trustee Robert Santos, a board member.
Such arrangements bring in development projects, which increase long-term property taxes, said Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham, chairman of the committee.
Committee members also received a report on the Community Reinvestment Zone Program, which allows local governments to provide property tax exemptions to property owners who renovate existing buildings or construct new structures.
Jackson Township ended its CRA a few years ago, but four projects remain active: Hilltrux Tank Lines and Liberty Steel, which received 15-year 40% exemptions that expire in 2022; Republic Metals, which secured a 60% 15-year advantage expiring in 2024; and National Industrial Lumber Co., which has a 10-year, 60% exemption expiring in 2023.
There is “very little oversight or accountability” with the ARC program, which has no investment or job creation targets to meet, Lown said.
“With the enterprise zone program, if you don’t create jobs, if you don’t make these investments, you no longer benefit from the reduction. We can stop it,” she said. “The ARC goes on and on.”
Jackson Township has to deal with the passage of small trucks, which puts a strain on the township’s roads and budgets, Meacham said. There are discussions in the Ohio General Assembly about changing the ARCs to give local governments more control, he said.
The only other ARC in the county is Southern Park Mall in Boardman, which received a 40% exemption for 15 years that was approved in 2020 to support its recent renovation.
Meacham said he was pleased with the companies’ responsiveness in reporting their data. There is a concern when companies “go silent” and do not respond to requests for information.
“We want good actors here because we’re protecting taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The listener also found the lack of new projects “a bit surprising”. He attributed this to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted many of the company’s expansion plans.
“These are very valuable programs for the economic development of the region,” he said. “As the economy stabilizes again, there will be more projects coming our way.”
Pictured above: Xaloy wants to hire more laborers at its Austintown plant on Victoria Road.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.