Mahoning Companies Meet Requirements for Incentives

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The companies participating in Mahoning County’s Enterprise Zone program are substantially in compliance with the terms of their agreements with the county. However, the program administrator is waiting to hear back from one of the companies.

The Mahoning County Tax Incentive Review Council met Monday to evaluate the performance of the five companies that received tax abatements through the county program.

All five companies either met investment or employment targets under the tax abatement program.

There are “a couple instances” where companies have not met the investment requirements of their abatement agreements, but are “far exceeding” the job creation estimates, said Sarah Lown, public finance manager for the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority and Mahoning County enterprise manager.

The development authority, a division of the Western Reserve Port Authority, manages the county enterprise zone program under a contract with the county.

Youngstown Baseline/FedEx Ground, North Jackson, exceeded both investment and employment projections, the report said. Now in the ninth year of its 10-year contract, the company reported investment of $8.48 million — above the $6.80 million to $7.90 million it had projected – and added 137 jobs, compared to the two projected.

Its abatement is for 60% over 10 years.

Trumbull M.A.R.S., Austintown, in the final year of its 10-year, 55% abatement, has created 23 jobs as of last year, more than four times the five jobs projected.

InfoCision Management Corp, which operates a call center in Austintown Township, invested $4.47 million of the $5.25 million to $6.14 million it projected it would spend there. In its ninth year of its 10-year, 60% abatement agreement, the company reported it created 502 jobs there as of last year, more than double the 200 it projected.

The company “added shifts instead of adding bricks and mortar. So that ended up being a better arrangement,” Lown remarked.

McHenry Industries, in year seven of its 10-year, 60% tax abatement agreement, has created 60 jobs in Austintown, four times the 15 it projected. Its total investment to date of $2.60 million is below the $3.01 million to $4.23 million the company had projected.

“They’ve been very aggressive in marketing and that’s paid off for them,” Lown said.

Lown said she awaits a response from Advanced Recycling System in Coitsville Township, in the third year of a 10-year abatement. Its investment of $794,682 reported in previous years exceeds the projected $709,000 but it has not reported any figures on job creation. The company said it would create two jobs.

The complete report on the county enterprise zone program must be submitted to the state by the end of this month.

“If the data is not in March 31, we start to be fined $1,000 a month,” she said. The company also has not paid the $500 annual fee to participate in the program, she reported.

The council did not revoke the abatement, but Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham, chairman of the council, suggested that the $1,000 fine could be passed along to Advanced Recycling if it did not comply with its requirements.

“We’ll rattle that saber a little bit,” Lown responded. She said she plans to reach out to the company again to reinforce the upcoming reporting deadline.

Lown also reported to the committee – which includes representatives of county townships and school systems affected by abatement and Community Reinvestment Area programs the county administers – on two upcoming enterprise zone projects in Austintown.

Nordson Xaloy Inc. is consolidating operations from three sites, including one in Boardman, in the former Tamarkin warehouse. The company plans to invest $25 million, bring 106 jobs and create 143 positions.

“This is significant for this area,” Lown said. “They’re a worldwide company so they’re going to have quite a strong presence now.”

Trumbull Manufacturing, a spinoff of Trumbull Industries in Warren, is moving into the former Precision Industries building on Hendricks Road, where it will establish manufacturing operations.

Trumbull Industries is a distributor of commercial and residential plumbing supplies to customers including big-box retailers such as Home Depot, Meacham said.

The company always has had a “very small manufacturing piece,” Lown said, but now wants to manufacture component parts for municipal water systems.

“They’re very conservative,” she said. “They anticipate the creation of five new jobs but given what took place in Flint, Mich., and so on, there’s a good chance they’ll grow quickly.”

The county approved 10-year, 60% abatements for both.

Lown also reported on the status of the 10-year tax increment financing agreement with Penn National Gaming Inc. for Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown. Annual collections total $609,134 and $2.11 million has been collected over the past 3 1/2 years, she said.

Funds collected through the TIF have been applied directly to infrastructure projected related to the racino, including road resurfacing, sewer and signalization projects.

“We drew a circle around the Penn National facility and identified those roadways as serving that facility. We’re on the outer reaches of that catchment area,” she said. She plans to use the TIF revenues to leverage highway grant dollars through the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

In the first week of April, she said, she anticipates creating a new TIF for North Jackson to serve four properties there. That TIF would generate as much as $1.5 million for infrastructure projects, she said.

The objective is to generate money to reinvest in roadways there that are now in “terrible shape,” she said.

Overall, Meacham described himself as “very satisfied” with the report.

“The jobs are making up for the amount of the abatement,” he remarked. “It’s a win-win.”

The companies are “living up to their obligation [except] one little glitch in reporting,” he noted. “I’m sure that’s easily remedied.”

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