by Ashley Heeney
Tallmadge -- Tallmadge City officials and Suffield Township trustees will meet June 28 at 7 p.m. to discuss a possible Joint Economic Development District in the entire area of the township.
At the meeting, Mayor Christopher Grimm and the city's Economic Development Director Pat Sauner will represent Tallmadge, and Suffield Township trustees Chair David Polen and trustees David T. Vartentuk and Ronald Mishler will cast their vote on the JEDD.
Grimm asked Council at its June 14 meeting and public hearing to hold on adopting the ordinance for two weeks. He said the area of the JEDD is the entire [Suffield] Township. but it doesn't affect agricultural or residents who live in Suffield, but are not employed by a Suffield business.
"Most people who live there don't work there -- you won't be affected," Grimm told a Martin Road resident who spoke at the June 14 public hearing.
The benefit, said Grimm, would be improved water, sewer and economic infrastructure in Suffield. "It provides the ability to abate taxes to help get businesses going with the idea that they'll stay there," he said.
"Growth reduces the reliance on property tax -- and Suffield's is the highest around," he added. "You'll see a nice chunk of change going back to the property owners."
Under a mutual JEDD agreement, taxes would be collected from the income of employees of businesses and the corporate taxes within the JEDD, said Grimm.
"Tallmadge would initially get 100 percent of the JEDD tax, then 50 percent would go back to Suffield -- 30 percent for the general fund and 20 percent for capital," he said.
"The first few years are spent signing businesses up," said Grimm. Sauner said there are 55 to 60 businesses located in the proposed JEDD area.
City Finance Director Jill Stritch said the amount of taxes to be collected from these businesses is "impossible to estimate" in these early stages.
A JEDD board, comprising economic professionals and business people, would be formed with Grimm's appointment of one member, and his appointment of a second -- to be approved by Council, he said, then Suffield appoints two more members and the fifth member is chosen by the four who were appointed.
The June 28 public hearing will take place at Suffield Town Hall, at the corner of Route 43 and Waterloo Road.