AMHERST — The city of Amherst and Amherst Township are closing in on agreeing to a joint economic development district for the Golden Acres property.
On Monday night, Amherst City Council held a public hearing to discuss the possible JEDD contract between the city and township. The agreement would be for the nearly 30 acres of property owned by Lorain County that was the former county-run Golden Acres Nursing Home, which ceased operation in November 2015.
“There’s a piece of property that the county owns, the old Golden Acres property, which is within the township,” Amherst Mayor Mark Costilow said. “A JEDD is an economic tool that allows the township to utilize our infrastructure: our wastewater treatment plant and utility services. It allows the city to also impose an income tax on the property, and the township gets to share that. It’s kind of a win-win for an economic development tool for the city and township to work together to bring business.”
The city and township would split the income tax revenue evenly. Without the JEDD agreement, the township would be unable to collect the income tax, according to Lorain County Administrator Jim Cordes.
“What it does is it allows the township to get a few dollars of income tax that they can’t levy on their own,” Cordes said. “The property tax alone doesn’t bring a lot to townships when businesses locate there. Lacking the ability to have income tax as one of their revenue streams, under the Ohio Revised Code, they are allowed to enter into a (JEDD) with the city to share income tax.
“So basically, they piggyback onto a city’s ability to apply an income tax.”
While Amherst would provide some of its infrastructure, the township would provide fire, police and other services, according to Costilow.
The agreement would be for 100 years, with two 50-year renewals. The agreement also states the city would not annex the land in the JEDD during the contract.
“The township covers us on three sides, and this helps for future protection between the township and the city,” Council President John Deitrich said. “This is probably just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. I think it behooves us to work with the township; they kind of surround us, except to the north. I think it’s a good deal all the way around.”
When asked if the JEDD agreement means that Amherst would not be able to grow in size, Costilow was quick to answer.
“This is a limited area,” he said. “There are some areas that I would target as an annexation. This is a good opportunity to work together, but there are probably other areas that are better to annex. Each situation is going to be looked at differently.”
Amherst Township held a public hearing a couple weeks ago on the matter. Township Trustee Dennis Abraham declined to comment on the JEDD contract due to it being a pending legal contract agreement but did say, “We’re hopeful that this can become reality, for the benefit of both communities.”
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