Monroe moving forward with its part of Great Miami River bike trail

Monroe is closer to moving forward on constructing a section of the bike trail along the Great Miami River.

The city council heard first readings last week on resolutions that would move the project forward. One would allow the city to enter an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to construct the 2.3-mile section as part of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail using $650,000 in federal grant funding that has been awarded to Monroe.

City Manager Bill Brock told council the city is responsible for all planning and design of the trail project, and ODOT is responsible for the bidding, awarding and contract administration.

The estimated cost for the construction of the bike trail is about $1.3 million, and the $650,000 in federal funds were received through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Government’s Transportation Alternatives Grant Program.

The city has also been awarded a secondary grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails Grant of $500,000 for construction costs for the bike path.

Tax abatement change possible for Rivertown

Council heard a first reading of a resolution to renegotiate the terms for the Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement for the Rivertown Brewery, 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Road.

The CRA agreement was the focus of a review on May 21 by the Butler County Tax Incentive Review Council that was triggered when Rivertown Brewery failed to pay its first-half Butler County property taxes in February 2020.

The TIRC is required to review the compliance status of tax abatement agreements and recommend further action to City Council. A provision in the CRA agreement says all unabated taxes must not be delinquent.

Previously, Rivertown had a payment plan with Butler County to pay unpaid property taxes. The company was current on that payment plan as of the last TIRC meeting. As a result of the nonpayment and a failure to make the April payment on their payment plan, their existing Butler County payment plan for previously-due taxes that had not been paid is no longer valid.

On May 21, the TIRC voted to recommend to City Council consider modifying the rate and/or terms of the tax abatement agreement with Rivertown in light of their non-payment of real property taxes. Council can choose to accept, modify or reject the TIRC recommendation. In the event council wishes to remove the incentive entirely, the abatement can be rescinded or modified to a 0% abatement.

The TIRC also agreed to allow the city the opportunity to renegotiate the rate/terms of the Rivertown Brewery agreement.

Motions approved

Council approved the following motions:

• Approval to purchase a Bobcat Compact Track Loader for $50,321 from the state procurement contract that does not require bidding.

• Approved the resumption of water shut-offs for reasons of non-payment as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is lifting that suspension on July 10.

• Rescinded the ban to issue solicitor’s permits. The ban was enacted as a local anti-COVID-19 precaution to enhance social distancing.

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