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Published: Friday, 3/19/2004

Monclova Township: Joint income tax put on hold

A 1.5-percent income tax set to start April 1 for employees and businesses within a 579-acre zone in Monclova Township was put on hold indefinitely last night by a joint economic development zone board.

The 8-0 vote by the joint board at the Monclova Township hall to indefinitely suspend the tax was taken as an attorney argued a recent board resolution giving a green light to the tax was flawed and should be scrapped.

Albin Bauer II, an attorney for a group of businesses and employees opposed to the tax, contended there has been no vote to adopt the tax among the handful of residents he said reside within the zone.

The area now is mainly occupied by new businesses, including commercial and light industrial firms.

Mr. Bauer contended the board has limited powers and that he may file suit to permanently halt the tax.

"The [joint economic development zone] is not a home rule entity," Mr. Bauer said. "It is a creature of state statute with very specific limitations."

He declined to identify the firms he represents.

Keith Trettin, chairman of the JEDZ board, said the delay will give the board time to do additional research into the issues.

The joint board, with three members each from the township, Maumee, and Toledo, intends to use part of the income tax revenue to pay the township to provide police and fire protection and street maintenance in the zone.

The tax would generate several hundred thousand dollars annually, John Jezak, a board member, said. No firm numbers were available. The township would get a third of the tax revenue, with Maumee and Toledo splitting the remaining share equally.

The agreement among the township and two cities was intended to halt annexation of township land to the two cities.

Mr. Bauer contended the joint board has not complied with statutory requirements to establish itself.

The businesses base their objections on having to pay an income tax to receive township services for which township residents outside the 579-acre zone will not have to pay, he said.

"When it comes to township services, they just want to be treated like everybody else in the township," he said.

They also object to the 30-year freeze on annexations, unless the three entities vote otherwise, he said.

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