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Published: Friday, 1/28/2005

Perrysburg Township, city eye development district

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Officials from Perrysburg Township and the city of Perrysburg met Wednesday to begin working out details of a possible joint economic development district.

Township Administrator John Hrosko, Trustee Craig LaHote, Perrysburg Law Director Pete Gwyn, and John Albers, an attorney from Columbus hired by the township, met privately to discuss the formation of a district.

"The basic concept is agreeable by both sides," Mr. Gwyn said. "There are a few issues we need to get ironed out."

A joint economic development district would promote commercial and industrial development on township land by extending water and sewer services to the area without a possible battle over annexation. The township has proposed that the city provide water and sewer services to the district without the surcharge usually placed on township customers.

A development district would allow the city and township to share tax revenue.

Employees working within the development district would pay an income tax equal to the city's income tax, which is now 1.5 percent.

The income tax revenue would be split between the township and the city, but all property taxes would go to the township.

"It could be a new revenue source for us," Mr. Hrosko said.

Officials said they have not decided where the joint economic development district would be.

Mr. Albers said the district likely would include existing commercial businesses and vacant land where retail or office buildings could develop.

"It's the desire of both entities that it be a rather broad district," Mr. Albers said.

Township officials approached the city about cooperating on a development district.

Before a development district could go into effect, the venture would need to be approved by the township trustees and Perrysburg City Council, Mr. Gwyn said.

He said it likely will be several months before the trustees or council consider the issue.

Mr. Gwyn and Mr. Albers plan to continue meeting to refine language in a draft of the joint district contract.

The current draft says the township and city would share responsibility for police and fire services and for road maintenance within the development district, which could not contain any property zoned for residential use.

The district would be governed by a volunteer board of directors. The board would be responsible for overseeing the district's finances, but could not offer tax abatements without the consent of the township trustees.

Mr. Gwyn said commercial or industrial growth encouraged by a joint economic development district would bring benefits to the township and city.

"Good growth for the township means good things for the city," he said.

Contact Rachel Zinn at:

rzinn@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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