Deal adds protections to Dayton school-city tax abatement pact

Dayton’s school board on Tuesday approved an additional agreement governing the 10-year tax abatement deal between Dayton Public Schools and the city of Dayton.

The memorandum of understanding spells out details of due diligence required from the city before it approves a project for tax abatement. It also defines what input the school board will have, and lists responsibilities of the developer, although those terms didn’t change much from the original document.

“It’s the extension of the concerns the board of education had,” DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said. “It’s putting in writing what we had a verbal agreement on after talking with (the city).”

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The primary agreement was approved weeks ago by both the DPS and the city without that language. The deal says DPS will exempt 100 percent of taxes on certain commercial property abatements during the next 10 years, giving up the right to vote on individual projects.

But the school district will receive “compensation payments” equal to 25 percent of the property taxes they would have otherwise received.

The previous agreement was short on due-diligence details, requiring only “a financial stress test, development plan overview, and overall project suitability.” The new MOU says that prior to awarding tax incentives, the city must take at least nine specific steps, including a cost/benefit analysis, a study of growth projections, and estimate of the value of the tax abatement.

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The MOU still says that the city will only brief school officials on the details of its due diligence “when appropriate or allowable.”

The school board approved the new MOU by a 5-1 vote. Sheila Taylor, who opposed the original contract, also voted no on this pact. City spokeswoman Toni Bankston said Wednesday that city commission will vote on the new memorandum Aug. 29.

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