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Rootstown -- Rootstown Township trustees heard a pitch March 25 from the city of Tallmadge, offering to sign the township up for a Joint Economic Development District with the city.
The cities of Tallmadge, Kent and Ravenna all are eligible to enter JEDD agreements with Rootstown because their JEDD agreements with Brimfield and Ravenna Township make them contiguous with the township.
Trustees expressed interest in hosting a meeting with Tallmadge and the other cities to discuss the idea in greater detail.
Mayor David Kline and Pat Sauner, Tallmage's community development director, both said the JEDD with Brimfield had yielded great benefits to both Tallmadge and Brimfield.
"They just built a new police station in Brimfield, and Chief (Bob) Keller wants to build a new fire station," Sauner said. "They're using JEDD money to do it."
Sauner said only people who work at businesses in the JEDD district would pay income tax, and most are receptive to it because they're already paying income tax some place else.
National chains, such as gas stations and fast food restaurants, are among the first to sign up and since the eateries pay a lot of income tax, they tend to be higher taxpayers, Sauner said.
"Most of them say that they're already paying tax somewhere else, so they might as well keep it in the township, and then maybe the roads will get paved a little more often," he said.
The JEDD money could be used to expand water service in the township, eliminating the primary reason most property owners seek annexation.
Trustee Joe Paulus, who owns a business in Rootstown, questioned the benefit the JEDD would have on him or his employees.
Mike Kerrigan of Northeast Ohio Medical University said NEOMED has surveyed its employees about a JEDD and most are in favor of it "as long as it truly benefits the development of the township."
"They want to see it go towards improving the roads or something that would bring more jobs," he said.
Paulus asked what the "downside" of a JEDD is and Kline suggested they should ask that question of Brimfield.
"They'll say, 'What downside?'" he said.
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