LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Village of Lordstown is trying to figure out the financial red-tape to make sure it can get money from the new General Motors Battery Plant and still keep enough in property tax so the school system gets help, too.
Lordstown is in a situation that many towns in the Valley are suffering through right now: how to attract new businesses while still earning revenue for essential services.
However, a state law meant to protect school funding is putting Lordstown in a tricky spot.
Lordstown Schools is in a uniquely-awkward situation with the state of Ohio, which sees the village as doing well even though, in reality, things aren’t as good after the GM plant closure.
“Lordstown School District gets very little from the state because we’re considered having General Motors Plant here somewhat of a wealthy community,” said Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill.
Public schools in Ohio receive most of their funding through property taxes, and when a community gives incentive to attract a new business, the state has a law to help schools recover the lost revenue.
“Due to the fact that we’re abating most of the money which would go to the school, that’s why we have to enter into an income tax sharing agreement of some sort, and that’s why we’re here tonight,” said Hill.
The GM Battery Plant’s proposed 75% abatement would trigger a potential sharing of payroll tax revenue between the village and schools.
Lordstown schools would stand to lose over $200,000 in payroll taxes each year if they agree not to share the revenue.
But some on the school board are concerned that the lost revenue would hurt their long-term needs. They want to prepared for the future.
If GM builds its battery plant in Lordstown, Superintendent Terry Armstrong is confident they will get more in property taxes, which will make up for the loss of payroll tax income.
“The school is going to get $600,000 in new money. That’s a property that now brings in 6,000, so it’s going to go up 100 times, so that’s going to help us out immensely,” said Armstrong.
The school board and Mayor Hill came to a compromise plan where Lordstown Schools will receive 50% of payroll taxes over 100 million each year.
The compromise needs approval from the full school board and city council before it can be added to the final proposal.