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East Palestine wants to market CRA possibilities

EAST PALESTINE — The village wants to look into better marketing its Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) to attract more residents and businesses.

Village Solicitor Dave Powers and interim Village Manager Traci Spratt both said during this week’s council meeting that more people need to be aware of the CRA opportunities available in East Palestine.

The CRA program has been in place locally since 2003 and was actually used as somewhat of a template for the new CRA in Columbiana.

A CRA allows for property tax abatements on new home construction or remodeling projects, and industrial and commercial projects for a specified length of time.

Under East Palestine’s program a new home construction certified by the village manager would receive 100 percent property tax abatement over a five-year term.

A residential remodel can receive 100 abatement on the increase in market value over a 10-year term as long as there are no more than two dwelling units inside a structure.

For commercial and industrial construction, property owners receive a percent of exemption that is negotiated with the village and school district and set into an agreement, with the school district having a say in any abatement over 50 percent.

The program is overseen locally by members of the Tax Incentive Review Council, which are three representatives appointed by the county commissioners, two appointed by the city manager, one county auditor designee and one school board representative.

In other business during the council meeting, council approved:

— The 2020 preliminary budget.

— Giving second readings to legislation establishing a police department fund for the .5 percent income tax increase and establishing a fire department fund for the .5 percent income tax increase.

— Giving a second reading to legislation changing the fire and EMS personnel structure in response to the 5. percent income tax increase.

— A resolution authorizing the placement of a 5-mill road levy on the Nov. 5 election ballot. A renewal results in no tax increase to residents. The five-year levy is expected to generate $299,990 a year for the department.

Council was expected to vote on a resolution to appropriate property for sewer plant upgrades, but the resolution was removed from the agenda due to negotiations with the property owners.

According to the resolution, the village is in need of just under .5 acres of vacant property east of Park Drive in order to complete the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandated sewer plant upgrades.

The project consists of the construction of an equalization basin to help correct sanitary sewer overflows during periods of heavy rain.

Council went into executive session to discuss the matter during the meeting, but no action was taken.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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