Lordstown officials give first reading to TJX tax abatement
By SAMANTHA PHILLIPS
Some residents, including Mayor Arno Hill, hoped council would vote for an emergency passage of a tax abatement for the incoming TJX facility at Monday’s meeting.
The proposed 75 percent, 10-year abatement was given a first reading instead, however.
HomeGoods, the parent company of TJX Companies Inc., first expressed interest in building a $160 million TJX distribution center in the village in March.
Hill said the company committed to create 1,000 full-time jobs within three to five years of the facility’s construction.
“I would have liked to have seen [the abatement] pass, but that’s council’s pleasure,” Hill said.
Monday’s meeting was the first time council met since General Motors announced it was ceasing production of the Chevrolet Cruze at the GM Lordstown plant in March 2019, leaving about 1,500 people without jobs.
There was some discussion over whether council could vote on the abatement as an emergency measure. Councilman Robert Bond wasn’t present at the meeting, and Councilman Ron Radtka can’t vote on it because he is one of the property owners involved with the TJX deal.
Paul Dutton, the village’s legal adviser, told council because Radtka’s seat is considered vacated, council had a majority and could approve the abatement if four out of the remaining five members voted yes.
Councilwoman Karen Jones said the abatement agreement had been changed after she received her packet Monday morning and she wanted the opportunity to review those changes.
She also expressed concern the full council wasn’t present to vote.
Councilman Donald Reider voted to put the emergency passage in motion, but no other council members seconded the motion, leaving it as a first reading. The next village meeting is Dec. 17.
The council chambers was packed with residents, but there were no public comments.
After the meeting, resident Alda Pugh told The Vindicator she thinks the facility would be good for the community.
“It’s progress,” she said. “It would be good for the whole community ... not just Lordstown.”
The potential development has been contentious among some residents, who fought against rezoning the 290 acres of residential land to commercial property for the business.
The Committee of Lords-town Concerned Residents filed a complaint against the village and Ohio in an attempt to stop the development in August after a special election in which the zone change was approved, but a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judge ruled against it.