Xenia to give Greene County Career Center tax rebate

The Greene County Career Center at 532 Innovation Drive in Xenia. STAFF/BONNIE MEIBERS

After relocating to Xenia, the Greene County Career Center will get a tax break.

Xenia City Council approved Thursday the career center’s income tax rebate program application.

The Greene County Career Center, which moved to 532 Innovation Drive, applied for an income tax rebate with the city of Xenia, which would give the school back nearly half of the income taxes it pays annually for five years. The career center moved to a new $70 million facility that opened for students in August. The new facility has a focus on aerospace and drone technology.

The Greene County Career Center projects a $7.4 million payroll, which would produce about $168,000 in income tax for the city. Adjusting for career center employees who already pay Xenia’s income tax because they live in the city, Xenia get would get $73,901 of that after the rebate.

Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman said this rebate is a little unusual because this incentive is usually used with a private sector business.

Greene County Career Center will get a rebate back every year for five years. Merriman predicts they would top out at about an $81,000 tax rebate.

Ryan Duke, the city’s financial director, said he was “not necessarily” in support of the entire 1% rebate because the city already spent a lot of money to accommodate the career center.

“There are some good reasons to approve the rebate and some good reasons to not approve it or not approve the entire rebate,” Duke said. “When you look at what we spent specifically just on this project, we’re very much in the red and it will take well over a decade for us to recoup that investment."

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Duke said that in order for the city to have this investment make sense financially, the city needs other developments at that site. Duke said, in his opinion, because the city paid to install water and sewer utilities and extend the road, that giving the career center a rebate did not make financial sense since future development at that site is unknown. Duke said the Greene County Career Center dragged out some agreements, making the project more expensive for the city.

“The revenues don’t offset the investment if you look at the project in a vacuum,” he said.

Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays said she motioned to give the career center the full rebate for five years because the city can. Mays said the city is excited that the Greene County Career Center built in Xenia and thinks there can be development on that road.

The career center sought the rebate to offset the cost of paying income taxes that it didn’t have at the school’s previous Xenia Twp. location, according to city records.

“The Innovation Drive area is ripe for development," Greene County Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins said in a statement. “We believe a new career center, utilizing 21st century technology and new programming, will attract businesses looking to expand in the area.”

All council members present voted in favor of the tax rebate.

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