Though Austintown doesn’t want to create a joint economic-development district with Youngstown for a racino under construction, the city has found a township interested in discussing the issue.
Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree spoke last week with Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone about meeting to discuss the possibility of such districts in the township, both confirmed Wednesday.
Loree said he specifically wants to discuss districts for undeveloped industrial land on McClurg, Bev, Simon and Western Reserve roads.
The biggest problem in those areas is the lack of high-speed Internet lines, Loree said.
State law permits cities and townships to form a JEDD to impose income taxes in exchange for needed infrastructure. The township could use a portion of its share of an income tax for Internet lines and other infrastructure to make those areas more usable for industrial businesses, Loree said.
“A JEDD could help bring those services to those businesses,” he said. “I hope we can work things out as it will help with the long-term growth in the area. There are parts of the township that are just sitting there.”
Sammarone said he expects to meet in the coming weeks with township officials.
A JEDD is “a way of generating income for your community without raising taxes” on existing businesses, Sammarone said.
The tax would be on new businesses that open in designated JEDD locations and their workers, he said.
Austintown trustees rejected a JEDD proposal earlier this month that would provide water from the city for a racino being built there because of the tax. Sammarone said the city wants to discuss a JEDD and other options with Penn National Gaming Inc., the company building the racino. Austintown trustees are entertaining preliminary offers from Niles and McDonald to provide water to the racino without a JEDD.
Businesses in designated JEDD locations could benefit from the economic incentives offered by the city, Sammarone said.
He pointed to two examples of business incentives approved Wednesday by city council.
Council voted in favor of development deals with Strollo Architects, planning a $4 million rehabilitation project on West Federal Street, and Commercial Metal Forming, planning a $5 million expansion project on Logan Avenue.
If approved by the board of control, both companies would receive up to $2 million in low-interest loans and thousands of dollars in grants.