Most Companies Meeting Objectives, Trumbull Council Reports

WARREN, Ohio – Members of the Trumbull County Tax Incentive Review Council on Thursday approved continuing 22 tax abatements, including one for a company that had fallen short on its employment goal, and moved to modify an agreement with another company that similarly failed to meet its job-creation commitment.

More than 30 attendees packed into a conference room in the Trumbull County Administration Building downtown to consider the 26 active abatement agreements with companies, most of which have met or exceeded job creation/retention and investment pledges.

In all, Trumbull County had abatement agreements in place as of Thursday morning totaling $229.17 million in real property investment and $946.82 million in personal property investment, according to a chart provided at the meeting. The projects resulted in the creation of 1,733.5 full-time equivalent positions and retention of 891 positions.

Of the total positions created and retained under the abatement agreements, 1,457 – or 55.5% – are being filled by Trumbull County residents, more than double the 25% required by the Ohio Revised Code, Nicholas Coggins, assistant director of the Trumbull County Planning Commission and tax incentive manger, reported.

“The majority of our businesses continually hit their metrics or exceed their metrics. We’ve been very fortunate in Trumbull County when people do seek the abatement that they fulfill their claims that they entered into in their agreement,” he said.

TJX-HomeGoods, which in 2019 entered into a 75%, 10-year Enterprise Zone agreement to construct a 1.2-million-square-foot logistics center in Lordstown, reported 1,321 jobs created at the site, exceeding the 800 it had pledged to create by now. Reported real property investment of just short of $147 million substantially exceeded the $90 million pledged, and actual personal property spending of $84.7 million was higher than the $60 million pledged.

Clean Energy Future – Lordstown LLC, which entered into a 100%, 15-year Enterprise Zone agreement to construct a steam-turbine energy plant in Lordstown, invested $708.65 million in personal property investment, above the $514 million it had pledged, and spent $16.7 million on real property, compared with the $14 million pledge. The 21 jobs created are two above the 19 pledged.

Anderson-Dubose, which received a 75%, 10-year Enterprise Zone Agreement in 2017 to renovate and add 55,000 square feet to its existing warehouse in Lordstown, more than doubled the pledged creation of 20 jobs, adding 55 positions, and retained 184 positions, compared with 113 pledged. Real property investment was $10 million, compared with $7 million promised, and personal property investment approached $15.69 million, more than six times the $2.45 million pledged.

The council approved the recommendation to modify the terms of a 50%, 10-year Community Investment Area Agreement approved in 2017 with Fresenius Medical Care to construct a medical building to provide dialysis services in Warren. Fresenius exceeded its personal property investment pledges of $540,000 by nearly $100,000. However, real property investment to date is $1.12 million, far short of the $2.79 million pledged, and the 10 jobs created is six fewer than targeted.

“We’re going to have to sit down with the planning commission to determine how we want to do that,” said Mike Keys, Warren community development director. “When you’re doing a modification agreement, you can do a lot of things.” Options include lowering the number of years or providing additional time if the company provides “a good reason” for not meeting employment goals.

Among the other abatements that the council voted to keep in place despite the company falling short in meeting its job creation pledge was one for Belmont Liberty Development, which had received a 50%, 10-year abatement in 2019 under a Community Reinvestment Area Agreement to construct a new Rally’s restaurant in Liberty Township. The personal and real property investment pledges were met or exceeded, but the eight jobs created fell short of the 18 pledged.

Coggins pointed out that hospitality and health care are among the sectors that continue to struggle with hiring and retaining workers since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the agreements on the spreadsheet were so recent that they did not have any jobs or investment numbers to report. Clean Energy Future – Trumbull LLC’s energy plant is under construction still, so there are no reportable investment or employment numbers to report. Its agreement will expire 15 years after construction is substantially complete or in 2041, whichever is sooner.

The council voted to recommend letting expire agreements for three projects that had reached their conclusion in 2023: Ohio Star Forge II, Valley Electric Consolidated and Liberty Belmont Properties.

Pictured at top: The Anderson-DuBose Co. site in Lordstown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.