As part of the smart growth movement that swept through states over the last decade, Ohio jumped on the bandwagon passing legislation that reduced the ability of cities to annex township lands by creating new Joint Economic Development Districts, aka JEDDs.
These new JEDD districts offered cities and towns a chance to form partnerships rather than battling it out over contentious annexation. The JEDDs give a little something to both sides — townships get to share in income tax which they have no statutory authority otherwise to collect and cities can grow their boundaries and expand their tax base.
Kent has formed JEDDs with both Franklin and Brimfield Townships, and we even have a joint-joint-joint district between Brimfield, Kent and Tallmadge around the SR43 Interchange on 76.
These JEDDs have provided some much needed revenues to cash strapped townships, and the cities have welcomed their share of the new tax revenues as well. The JEDD agreements typically involve some sharing of income taxes (e.g., 45% or 50% split) in the areas designated as falling within the JEDD boundaries.
In total, the Kent Franklin JEDD has collected over $1.6 million in income tax receipts — $889,000 to Kent and $727,000 to Franklin Township. That works out to be about $250,000 or so to Kent per year at the current JEDD tax rate which according to the terms of the agreement is set to double next year.
There is also a certain amount set aside off the top to to be dedicated to new projects within the JEDD areas. A good example of that kind of project would be the new sidewalk that you can see being built along SR 59 in the Franklin Township.
A couple of years ago in one of our JEDD meetings we talked about the need to have sidewalk in this corridor that has a lot of pedestrians that too often end up walking at their own risk along the edge of a busy section of roadway.
From that first conversation, we proceeded to commit some JEDD funds to partner with Portage County to develop the preliminary engineering that would be needed to go after regional grant funds ($165,000).
It all came together and now we have new sidewalk being built in a much needed shared section of street between the township and the City.
It’s a great example of a project that probably would never have been able to funded without the seed money from the JEDD.
More proof that success in this current economy comes down to how good a partner you can be. We’re proud to be partners with our neighboring townships.