York Township has been offered compensation for tax revenue it lost in an annexation agreement between the Village of Delta and Nature Fresh Farms, but the trustees wanted a bite of the company’s income tax as well.
Delta Mayor Dan Miller said not only is the township not entitled to the income tax, but the Ohio Revised Code doesn’t permit it.
The trustees are presently sitting on Delta’s offer to make good on road and bridge tax revenue the township lost when the village annexed the Nature Fresh site off State Route 109. Based on the company’s completion of construction on the property by 2022, the reimbursement offer would eventually place $5,539.68 annually in the township’s coffers.
The village first approached the township with an offer in May. The latest version was extended Aug. 23, four days before the Fulton County Commissioners approved the annexation.
Instead, the township trustees also wanted .25 percent – about $30,000 – of the 1.5 percent income tax the village will collect from the company.
“The township has not agreed to the terms of our proposal,” Village Administrator Brad Peebles said Tuesday.
He said the trustees have not officially acted on the arrangement, and the village has not set a deadline to do so. Should the township reject the offer, another will not be made.
Delta has offered similar tax compensation to Swancreek and Pike townships, and to part of Fulton Township, in the event any portion of them is annexed to the village. Peebles said it’s the village’s desire “to make them whole for any taxes they would have received without (an) annexation. We fully anticipate that we will hear something back from them in the fairly near future.”
York Township is aware the offer has been made to all townships within the village’s jurisdiction or area, he said.
Delta Mayor Dan Miller said by seeking a cut of the income tax the township “is looking for something other than what they’re entitled to. What I’ve said from day one, in the case of an annex, is that any townships around Delta would be made whole. In terms of any property tax, they would still collect that.”
Miller said it’s his understanding the Ohio Revised Code doesn’t permit townships to collect income tax. He said York Township trustees are searching for a way to get it by labeling it as something else.
“For the township trustees to play word games is not a way to do business,” he said.
Trustee Tom Tedrow said the trustees requested the .25 percent share in order to gain something from Nature Fresh’s presence in the township. He said because the township may not legally collect income tax, it was suggested the revenue be reimbursed in some other manner, possibly through a service payment.
But now the income tax request is off the table because the trustees know the village won’t agree to it, Tedrow said. And that’s what upsets him.
“They’re going to be getting a bushel of money. The property is in York Township, and we think we should share at least a little bit in their revenue,” he said.
Early in the negotiations, Delta administrators suggested placing the tax revenue the township will lose in a line item account in the village budget, Tedrow said. The village would then have dictated the township’s use of it.
“‘Make us whole,’ they call it. That’s what irritates me. They make these stupid decisions they know we can’t agree to,” Tedrow said.
It’s his opinion that York Township trustees were deliberately omitted from any business dealings with Nature Fresh.
“The way it was handled from day one, we knew nothing about it,” Tedrow said. “We were left out of it, I think, purposely, probably so the village could work with them on annexation without our knowledge.”
The trustees requested a meeting with Nature Fresh officials “but they would never meet with us,” he said. “We’ve never had any communications with them. One of the reasons they used was that they didn’t understand the (hierarchy of) area governments. That’s a pretty poor excuse. The people who planned this in the beginning had prior experience, and they knew the township should have been notified first.”
Trustee Robert Trowbridge said the village’s offer has been placed on hold while the parties try to iron out the details.
“It was supposed to be a win-win for everybody. How can it be a win-win for everybody when we’re losing?” he asked.
The trustees were scheduled to meet Wednesday evening to further discuss the negotiations. But a decision may not be forthcoming.
“At this point I’m just willing to go on, and whatever happens, happens. I’m just tired of dealing with Delta,” Tedrow said. “Quite frankly, it left a sour taste in our mouths.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.
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