Summit County job creation, tax share agreement could see changes

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- Council members will be making recommendations for any changes to the Summit County Job Creation and Retention and Tax Revenue Sharing program this week.

Council approved the previous agreement in May 2012. Ten other communities joined the agreement, including Cuyahoga Falls, Macedonia, Tallmadge, Twinsburg and Akron.

The agreement compensates member communities if a large business moves from one community to another, especially if an incentive is offered to move.

Hudson will received approximately $80,000 in compensation in 2014, according to Economic Development Director Chuck Wiedie. The city didn't pay any.

"All in all, the agreement has worked as intended to do and has been fairly positive for Hudson," Wiedie told Council members at its workshop Feb. 25.

Last year the agreement was renewed without any changes, but Wiedie informed Summit County the city would like to review the contract this year.

In the first few years, communities had annual reviews and tweaked the agreement, Wiedie said. Without any changes, the agreement was automatically renewed last year.

The review would have to be completed by July 1, and Wiedie asked Council to submit any changes to the agreement by the first week in March.

"We are the only community asking for a review," Wiedie said. "I'd like to solicit thoughts on potential changes."

Council member David Basil wanted a provision added to prevent double tax sharing which would limit any revenue sharing to one agreement.

If a community doesn't agree with the changes, it can opt out of the agreement, but like Stow, it must wait at least two years to rejoin, Wiedie said.

Mayor William Currin said communities are often surprised when a business moves out and this program provides a safety net for the loss in tax revenue.

"It's been more positive than negative on the receiving side," said Council President Hal DeSaussure.

Council member Alex Kelemen said he was in favor of the agreement in 2011 but now wanted to get out because the city of Akron is a member.

In the agreement the communities recognize "it is imperative to cooperate and collaborate with each other for the economic benefit of the region and its resident-taxpayers in order to attract and retain businesses and jobs."

Kelemen said for the past year Akron has refused to provide new water service to approximately 25 percent of Hudson residents in its service area and is attempting to force Hudson to sign a separate, larger tax sharing agreement.

"I have a problem signing an agreement with Akron when they are withholding water and cost residents money to drill wells," Kelemen said. "I don't want to give Akron any money potentially."

DeSaussure said he didn't agree with canceling the agreement because of Akron, but Kelemen could make a motion to withdraw from the agreement at the next Council meeting March 5.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

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