Companies getting tax breaks struggle to hire Dayton residents

Norwood Medical is one of the companies that has met its targets for hiring Dayton residents under terms of a tax incentive agreement. Chris Jones, director of operations at Norwood Medical, is shown. STAFF

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Norwood Medical is one of the companies that has met its targets for hiring Dayton residents under terms of a tax incentive agreement. Chris Jones, director of operations at Norwood Medical, is shown. STAFF

Companies that receive tax breaks through Dayton’s enterprise zone program are doing a better job of meeting their investment and hiring pledges.

However, companies in the program continue to fall short of their commitments to hire Dayton residents.

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Last year, 80 percent of companies in the city’s enterprise zone program were substantially or fully compliant with the terms of their agreements.

“We continue to have good experience with our enterprise zone program,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Enterprise zone agreements give companies tax abatements if they make investments in their properties and expand their payrolls. The city has 10 active enterprise agreements.

Compliance with the requirements of the program has increased from 75 percent in 2015 and 64 percent in 2014, according to city data.

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The 10 businesses have invested $174 million in their expansion projects, which is 2.5 times the amount they pledged to spend, the city said. The firms have added a net of 478 new jobs.

The businesses in compliance with their agreements include Courtyard by Marriott Dayton, Honeywell, Real Wire, Norwood Medical, Malt Products Corp. and Emerson Climate Technology.

The city put Dayton Forging and Heat Treating on probation after the company failed to meet its pledge to create 28 new jobs. Instead, the company cut half its workforce between 2012 and 2016, city records show.

Courtyard was the only company to meet all three measures of compliance, including the pledge to ensure that at least 50 percent of its new hires live in the city of Dayton.

Dayton officials say companies are struggling to find and retain qualified employees who live in the city.

“Much of that is the skill set necessary to attract the employees,” Dickstein said.

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