Lisbon Council: CRA won’t hurt school tax revenue

LISBON — Village Council wants to allay any concerns school officials may have over the possible loss of future tax revenue from the recently passed legislation seeking to designate the entire town a Community Reinvestment Area.

The CRA designation allows property owners to seek tax breaks of up to 100 percent for 10 to 15 years on new residential and commercial construction or other improvements. Councilman Ryan Berg, who drafted the CRA legislation passed last month by council, said at this week’s council meeting he intends to meet with Lisbon School Superintendent Joe Siefke and the school board to address any concerns they might have over the potential impact.

“I want to deliver it in person to let them know what is going on,” he said.

Berg and others do not think the loss of future property tax revenue from the CRA will be an issue since Lisbon does not have any housing developments like Columbiana, which also recently enacted CRA legislation in its city. Columbiana school officials are concerned about the CRA preventing the district from tapping into additional operating funds via the tax dollars generated by new construction.

Councilman Peter Wilson said he ran into Siefke and the superintendent was concerned about the CRA designation, which must still be approved by the state. Wilson also explained how they did not believe it would have much of financial impact on the school district.

Wilson said he has told local property owners who are planning projects in town about the benefits of the CRA program.

“It’s good for the community. It’s an incentive for investment,” he said.

In other action at this week’s meeting, Mayor Roger Gallo recommended the following people be named to the village planning commission: Greg Weber, Kim Pirchner, Nikki Meek, Councilman Berg and himself.

The long-dormant planning commission consists of the mayor, a council member and three community members, and the commission must be in place to review proposed changes to the zoning code. Gallo said these were his appointments, but Wilson disagreed, saying he needs councils’ approval.

Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner, who serves as council clerk, sided with Wilson, saying the appointments were subject to council approval. Council then ratified Gallo’s recommendations.

Council, acting on Gallo’s recommendation, reappointed Gene Krotky to the cemetery board and Alisa Hall and Tena Liberati to the zoning board.

Council also learned the zoning inspector issued a permit to Renee Lewis, who purchased the Morgan’s Drug Store building after it closed last January. Lewis stated in her application the historic building is being remodeled and will be home to a design studio, art gallery, apothecary, law office and five loft apartments.