CONNEAUT - - A proposed agreement could see the city lending the local school district a hand on capital improvement projects to help ease the financial sting resulting from tax-abatement projects
No details have been prepared, but the proposed agreement could see Public Works Department crews assist a variety of school projects, ranging from paving work to sewer laterals. The future partners have already discussed constructing a fueling station at the Rowe Street bus garage that school and city vehicles would use.
Such cooperation could have a financial benefit to residents, said City Manager Douglas Lewis. "We're trying to save taxpayers some money," he said.
Prompting the proposed pact are Board of Education jitters regarding development projects enjoying significant tax breaks via the city's Community Reinvestment Act. While so-called abatement helps get development rolling, the tax rollback costs the school district much-needed property tax revenue.
City and school officials have already held informal talks on the abatement situation, sparked by tax gifts afford the on-going renovation of the Cleveland Hotel launched in part by relief provided developers through Conneaut's Community Reinvestment Act.
The city is feeling no pressure to enter into a cooperative agreement, administrators emphasized.
"The discussions have been very positive," said Law Director Lori Lamer. "There has been no animosity."
A pact between the entities could allow the city to relieve some of the hurt inflicted on the school district by tax abatement, Lewis said. "We could provide in-kind service in lieu of the money not received (by the school district) through the CRA," he said.
In other business, a rental occupancy permit program will be given it's first reading at Monday's regular meeting. Legislation got the green light after council raised no objection to the latest draft authored by Lamer. The measure will receive a full three readings, meaning it won't surface for a final vote until next month.
If approved, landlords would have to obtain a permit for each of their rental units. Permits would be issued after a successful inspection, which would cost $75 per unit in the first year and drop in successive years.
Conneaut's proposal is patterned after programs in place for years in Ashtabula and Geneva. Copies of the rental draft can be examined at the Conneaut Public Library.
n Agreed to contribute $1,000 to the Fourth of July Festival committee for the upcoming event at Lakeview Park
n Generally gave it's blessing to revisions to the city zoning code that lays out steps businesses in residential neighborhoods must follow if they wish to expand. Such businesses operate via non-conforming use permits. The zoning amendments assists such businesses while protecting the integrity of residential neighborhoods, officials have said.
Star Beacon Print Edition: 6/19/2007