- Michael D. Pitman Staff Writer
The special income tax district that helped land Walmart and Home Depot in Fairfield Twp. is expected to be expanded in order to bring in more than 100 new jobs and new development opportunities.
And income tax revenues will be split equally between Fairfield Twp. and Hamilton as the land known as Graceworks at Gilmore and Hamilton-Mason roads is developed.
To help with this project, Butler County Commissioners are ready to consider granting $44 million in new bonds for the StoryPoint project, a planned independent living, assisted living and memory care facility.
But first the commission is asking joint economic development district documents are approved by the governing bodies for Hamilton and Fairfield Twp. The two entities are actively negotiating an agreement to expand the 1996 Hamilton-Indian Springs JEDD agreement, which covers the northwest area of Bypass Ohio 4 and Ohio 129.
That JEDD currently pays Hamilton 75 percent of the income tax generated and Fairfield Twp. receives 25 percent. The new agreement is set to equally split income tax revenues between the two governments.
Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith and Fairfield Twp. Julie Vonderhaar entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent, which is expected to be updated.
Announced this past summer, StoryPoint is looking to build on roughly 16 acres of undeveloped land and hire 100 people, 40 of whom are expected to be full-time employees.
Smith said this JEDD project has been a longtime work-in-progress,.
“We have been working with Fairfield Twp. on and off for several years to create a JEDD in this general area,” he said. “Fairfield Twp., Butler County and the city of Hamilton all believe by working together we can maximize the value of this property.”
Details contained in the letter of intent are still being negotiated and approved by Hamilton and Fairfield Twp.’s governing bodies but it’s expected the two governments will:
- expand the Hamilton-Indian Springs JEDD by 209 acres;
- equally split income tax revenues between the two entities only on the new acreage;
- require both governments to develop a marketing plan for the area;
- allow Hamilton exclusive rights to provide electric and natural gas to the area;
- require Fairfield Twp. to initially pay for roadway improvements at Gilmore and Hamilton-Mason roads with Hamilton reimbursing the township up to $2 million;
Also, the agreement will extend the JEDD contract through 2086 with automatic successive 30-year renewals. Either government can opt out of the agreement with a 180-day written notice.
Smith said the “highest and best use” of this area will be office and commercial, which would complement the existing retail and residential areas surrounding the property.
The township will be entering into another agreement with the Fairfield City Schools related to the JEDD expansion.
“The development of the Graceworks property has been a collaborative effort between the schools, county, port authority, Hamilton and Fairfield Twp.,” said Vonderhaar.
The Fairfield City School District enters this agreement by way of a tax increment financing district that would be created in order to compensate the school district of loss revenues due to any property tax incentive.
The draft agreement calls for the trustees to compensate the school district 100 percent of any lost property tax revenue if incentives are granted. Vonderhaar said the TIF agreement is still “being actively negotiated.”
The township is working out a 10-year, 75 percent property tax incentive deal for StoryPoint where 25 percent of the property taxes would be abated, Vonderhaar said.
Staff Writer Mike Rutledge contributed to this story.