Xenia schools superintendent pushes back on tax abatements for Market District

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

A letter sent to parents of Xenia Community Schools students Friday by the superintendent criticized a proposed tax abatement for the city’s Market District, formerly known as Xenia Towne Square.

The proposed tax abatement, which would involve the school district forgoing property tax revenue from businesses and residences in the development, would “have serious long-term consequences and implications for the school district’s financial health and stability,” Lofton said.

Under Ohio law, the city can take 75% of tax revenue intended for schools for up to 10 years as part of Tax Increment Financing, Lofton said. Tax Increment Financing calls for local taxing bodies to make a joint investment in the development or redevelopment of an area. Xenia, or any taxing authority, can also take 100% of property taxes under a Community Reinvestment Area, up to 15 years, he said.

“In addition to what they are taking that is allowed under law, they are requesting that the XCS school board voluntarily give them our share of what is left...potentially amounting to millions in lost revenue for the school district over 30 years,” Lofton wrote.

Xenia Superintendent Gabe Lofton penned the letter Friday, wishing to “make sure that our families are aware of the proposal, and what this can mean for our schools,” he said.

“We, of course, want to be good partners with the City, and I absolutely understand the importance of economic growth for our community. However, this growth cannot come at the expense of Xenia’s students,” Lofton wrote.

Xenia city officials said Friday that any draft agreement between the city and school district has not been sent to the school board yet for consideration. School board president Mary Grech posted on Facebook Monday that they planned to meet with the city to discuss the agreement this week.

A presentation on Tax Increment Financing will be held at the next Xenia School Board meeting, March 11, at 6:30 p.m.

“We are coming to the table because we recognize what an important opportunity this could be for our students - from jobs to housing. However, in order for this to be a viable project, the numbers must make sense for the district,” Grech said.

School board member Josh Day said Monday that the school board is “working in good faith with the city.”

Xenia’s Market District, formerly known as Xenia Towne Square, is the center of a years-long, $145 million plan by the city of Xenia and Springboro-based developer Dillin, LLC to turn the property in the heart of the city from a largely vacant shopping strip into a plaza with dedicated spots for restaurants, shops, retail, and residential housing.

About the Author