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Lordstown council approves General Motors tax abatement

LORDSTOWN — Village council Tuesday gave its needed approval to grant General Motors a 75 percent tax abatement over 15 years for a planned 2.5 million- to 2.75 million-square-foot battery plant in the community.

The village’s approval, as well as approval last week from both the Lordstown Board of Education and Trumbull Career and Technical Center Board, will allow the company to begin moving forward with the planned manufacturing plant.

“What we had to get done and needed to get done for General Motors we did. The board, career center and council all approved the abatement. We are all rocking and rolling together on this one,” Mayor Arno Hill said.

Jason Gray, superintendent of the Trumbull Career and Technical Center, said the TCTC board on Thursday gave its approval for the GM tax abatement.

Gray said any time a business comes into the county and seeks an abatement on improvements, the board has been supportive — noting that the career center serves all public high schools in Trumbull County.

“We do what we can to support new jobs coming into the county. This one is expected to create 1,100 jobs,” Gray said.

The new facility will be located on state Route 45 between Salt Springs and Hallock Young roads.

Officials said the battery-cell plant could have a payroll of $45 million, meaning $450,000 in income tax.

The Lordstown school board, which is scheduled to meet 6 p.m. today at the high school, remains undecided on giving up its income tax from the GM battery plant to the village. That item was tabled at a board meeting last week.

The board’s agenda does not contain any item on shared income tax with the village.

The village of Lordstown is seeking more than its typical share of income tax when it comes to General Motors’ new plant by asking for the school’s income tax, which is about $225,000 annually.

Hill has said because of the loss of the GM car-making plant and income tax to the village, the village needs the money, whereas the school district could receive about $600,000 in property taxes once the plant is built.

Officials said any time the village is involved in a tax abatement request of more than 50 percent, it is required to enter into an income tax sharing agreement with the schools.

Hill said the village has approached the schools asking to keep all the income tax on the battery-plant project, noting the village’s main revenue stream has been declining the past three years.

Hill said he expects the Lordstown school board to wait until after the March 17 primary election, as the schools have two renewal levies on the ballot.

“They will probably wait before taking action until after the primaries and see how the levies go,” he said.

Hill said the village officials are willing to work with school officials on the matter.

“We have brought the schools a lot of money from all the abatements,” he said.

Village council has approved resolutions supporting the 5.6-mill and the 5.1-mill renewal operating levies on the ballot for the schools. The school levies combined generate approximately $1.5 million per year, which is about 23 percent of the district’s operating budget.

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