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Published: Tuesday, 9/19/2006

Sylvania council supports tax incentive

Sylvania City Council last night approved a tax-incentive program for a portion of the Monroe Street corridor that is designed to encourage economic development along the busy highway.

Council's action means that applications will be accepted in the city's Community Reinvestment Area No. 1 that was set up in 1987.

The city stopped accepting new applications from businesses for tax exemptions in that area in 1996, but council's finance committee recently recommended that Sylvania again accept such applications.

The resolution approved last night was amended because of concerns about the financial impact of tax abatements on Sylvania schools.

Council two weeks ago told Law Director Jim Moan to prepare an amendment that would require a pre-application agreement between the developer and the schools that would commit the developer to pay the schools annually for the loss of the state foundation adjustment for the six-year period of the abatement.

Some residents as well as council members had raised concerns about the city granting tax abatements to firms that want to do business in Sylvania, contending that the new businesses would have an unfair financial advantage over existing businesses.

Councilman Doug Haynam argued that retail firms would locate along the heavily traveled Monroe Street corridor without the incentive of a six-year tax break, but he earlier made a commitment to vote in favor of the resolution if it addressed the financial impact on the schools.

Remodeling of existing structures or construction of new structures in the area would encourage economic stability and growth; maintain property values, and generate new jobs, according to the resolution that was approved 6-1.

Councilman Mark Bula cast the lone no vote. He contends that it's inappropriate to grant tax incentives to attract businesses along Monroe Street when the city lacks a vision or plan for the corridor.

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