5709.63 Designation of enterprise zones by counties.

(A) With the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or of a board of township trustees, a board of county commissioners may, in the manner set forth in section 5709.62 of the Revised Code, designate one or more areas in one or more municipal corporations or in unincorporated areas of the county as proposed enterprise zones. A board of county commissioners may designate no more than one area within a township, or within adjacent townships, as a proposed enterprise zone. The board shall petition the director of development services for certification of the area as having the characteristics set forth in division (A)(1) or (2) of section 5709.61 of the Revised Code as amended by Substitute Senate Bill No. 19 of the 120th general assembly. Except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section, on and after July 1, 1994, boards of county commissioners shall not enter into agreements under this section unless the board has petitioned the director and the director has certified the zone under this section as amended by that act; however, all agreements entered into under this section as it existed prior to July 1, 1994, and the incentives granted under those agreements shall remain in effect for the period agreed to under those agreements. The director shall make the determination in the manner provided under section 5709.62 of the Revised Code.

Any enterprise wishing to enter into an agreement with the board under division (B) or (D) of this section shall submit a proposal to the board on the form and accompanied by the application fee prescribed under division (B) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code. The enterprise shall review and update the estimates and listings required by the form in the manner required under that division. The board may, on a separate form and at any time, require any additional information necessary to determine whether an enterprise is in compliance with an agreement and to collect the information required to be reported under section 5709.68 of the Revised Code.

(B) If the board of county commissioners finds that an enterprise submitting a proposal is qualified by financial responsibility and business experience to create and preserve employment opportunities in the zone and to improve the economic climate of the municipal corporation or municipal corporations or the unincorporated areas in which the zone is located and to which the proposal applies, the board, on or before October 15, 2015, and with the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or of the board of township trustees may do either of the following:

(1) Enter into an agreement with the enterprise under which the enterprise agrees to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility in the zone and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for the following incentives:

(a) When the facility is located in a municipal corporation, the board may enter into an agreement for one or more of the incentives provided in division (C) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code, subject to division (D) of that section;

(b) When the facility is located in an unincorporated area, the board may enter into an agreement for one or more of the following incentives:

(i) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed fifteen, of a specified portion, up to sixty per cent, of the assessed value of tangible personal property first used in business at a project site as a result of the agreement. If an exemption for inventory is specifically granted in the agreement pursuant to this division, the exemption applies to inventory required to be listed pursuant to sections 5711.15 and 5711.16 of the Revised Code, except, in the instance of an expansion or other situations in which an enterprise was in business at the facility prior to the establishment of the zone, the inventory that is exempt is that amount or value of inventory in excess of the amount or value of inventory required to be listed in the personal property tax return of the enterprise in the return for the tax year in which the agreement is entered into.

(ii) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed fifteen, of a specified portion, up to sixty per cent, of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property constituting the project site subsequent to formal approval of the agreement by the board;

(iii) Provision for a specified number of years, not to exceed fifteen, of any optional services or assistance the board is authorized to provide with regard to the project site;

(iv) The incentive described in division (C)(2) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code.

(2) Enter into an agreement with an enterprise that plans to purchase and operate a large manufacturing facility that has ceased operation or has announced its intention to cease operation, in return for exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed fifteen, of a specified portion, up to one hundred per cent, of tangible personal property used in business at the project site as a result of the agreement, or of real property constituting the project site, or both.

(C)

(1)

(a) Notwithstanding divisions (B)(1)(b)(i) and (ii) of this section, the portion of the assessed value of tangible personal property or of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property exempted from taxation under those divisions may exceed sixty per cent in any year for which that portion is exempted if the average percentage exempted for all years in which the agreement is in effect does not exceed fifty per cent, or if the board of education of the city, local, or exempted village school district within the territory of which the property is or will be located approves a percentage in excess of sixty per cent.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the Revised Code to the contrary, the exemptions described in divisions (B)(1)(b)(i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) and (B)(2) of this section may be for up to fifteen years if the board of education of the city, local, or exempted village school district within the territory of which the property is or will be located approves a number of years in excess of ten.

(c) For the purpose of obtaining the approval of a city, local, or exempted village school district under division (C)(1)(a) or (b) of this section, the board of county commissioners shall deliver to the board of education a notice not later than forty-five days prior to approving the agreement, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays as defined in section 1.14 of the Revised Code. The notice shall state the percentage to be exempted, an estimate of the true value of the property to be exempted, and the number of years the property is to be exempted. The board of education, by resolution adopted by a majority of the board, shall approve or disapprove the agreement and certify a copy of the resolution to the board of county commissioners not later than fourteen days prior to the date stipulated by the board of county commissioners as the date upon which approval of the agreement is to be formally considered by the board of county commissioners. The board of education may include in the resolution conditions under which the board would approve the agreement, including the execution of an agreement to compensate the school district under division (B) of section 5709.82 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners may approve the agreement at any time after the board of education certifies its resolution approving the agreement to the board of county commissioners, or, if the board of education approves the agreement conditionally, at any time after the conditions are agreed to by the board of education and the board of county commissioners.

If a board of education has adopted a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements and the resolution remains in effect, approval of an agreement by the board of education is not required under division (C) of this section. If a board of education has adopted a resolution allowing a board of county commissioners to deliver the notice required under this division fewer than forty-five business days prior to approval of the agreement by the board of county commissioners, the board of county commissioners shall deliver the notice to the board of education not later than the number of days prior to such approval as prescribed by the board of education in its resolution. If a board of education adopts a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements or shortening the notification period, the board of education shall certify a copy of the resolution to the board of county commissioners. If the board of education rescinds such a resolution, it shall certify notice of the rescission to the board of county commissioners.

(2) The board of county commissioners shall comply with section 5709.83 of the Revised Code unless the board of education has adopted a resolution under that section waiving its right to receive such notice.

(D) This division applies to zones certified by the director of development services under this section prior to July 22, 1994.

On or before October 15, 2015, and with the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or board of township trustees of each affected township, the board of county commissioners that designated a zone to which this division applies may enter into an agreement with an enterprise if the board finds that the enterprise satisfies one of the criteria described in divisions (D)(1) to (5) of this section:

(1) The enterprise currently has no operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations in the zone;

(2) The enterprise currently has operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations at a new location in the zone that would not result in a reduction in the number of employee positions at any of the enterprise's other locations in this state;

(3) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in another state, to the zone;

(4) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to expand operations at an existing site in the zone that the enterprise currently operates;

(5) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in this state, to the zone, and the director of development services has issued a waiver for the enterprise under division (B) of section 5709.633 of the Revised Code.

The agreement shall require the enterprise to agree to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility in the zone and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for one or more of the incentives described in division (B) of this section.

(E) All agreements entered into under this section shall be in the form prescribed under section 5709.631 of the Revised Code. After an agreement under this section is entered into, if the board of county commissioners revokes its designation of a zone, or if the director of development services revokes a zone's certification, any entitlements granted under the agreement shall continue for the number of years specified in the agreement.

(F) Except as otherwise provided in this division, an agreement entered into under this section shall require that the enterprise pay an annual fee equal to the greater of one per cent of the dollar value of incentives offered under the agreement or five hundred dollars; provided, however, that if the value of the incentives exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars, the fee shall not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars. The fee shall be payable to the board of county commissioners once per year for each year the agreement is effective on the days and in the form specified in the agreement. Fees paid shall be deposited in a special fund created for such purpose by the board and shall be used by the board exclusively for the purpose of complying with section 5709.68 of the Revised Code and by the tax incentive review council created under section 5709.85 of the Revised Code exclusively for the purposes of performing the duties prescribed under that section. The board may waive or reduce the amount of the fee charged against an enterprise, but such waiver or reduction does not affect the obligations of the board or the tax incentive review council to comply with section 5709.68 or 5709.85 of the Revised Code, respectively.

(G) With the approval of the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or the board of township trustees of a township in which a zone is designated under division (A) of this section, the board of county commissioners may delegate to that legislative authority or board any powers and duties of the board of county commissioners to negotiate and administer agreements with regard to that zone under this section.

(H) When an agreement is entered into pursuant to this section, the board of county commissioners authorizing the agreement or the legislative authority or board of township trustees that negotiates and administers the agreement shall forward a copy of the agreement to the director of development services and to the tax commissioner within fifteen days after the agreement is entered into. If any agreement includes terms not provided for in section 5709.631 of the Revised Code affecting the revenue of a city, local, or exempted village school district or causing revenue to be foregone by the district, including any compensation to be paid to the school district pursuant to section 5709.82 of the Revised Code, those terms also shall be forwarded in writing to the director of development services along with the copy of the agreement forwarded under this division.

(I) After an agreement is entered into, the enterprise shall file with each personal property tax return required to be filed, or annual report that is required to be filed under section 5727.08 of the Revised Code, while the agreement is in effect, an informational return, on a form prescribed by the tax commissioner for that purpose, setting forth separately the property, and related costs and values, exempted from taxation under the agreement.

(J) Enterprises may agree to give preference to residents of the zone within which the agreement applies relative to residents of this state who do not reside in the zone when hiring new employees under the agreement.

(K) An agreement entered into under this section may include a provision requiring the enterprise to create one or more temporary internship positions for students enrolled in a course of study at a school or other educational institution in the vicinity, and to create a scholarship or provide another form of educational financial assistance for students holding such a position in exchange for the student's commitment to work for the enterprise at the completion of the internship.

(L) The tax commissioner's authority in determining the accuracy of any exemption granted by an agreement entered into under this section is limited to divisions (B)(1)(b)(i) and (ii), (B)(2), (C), and (I) of this section, division (B)(1)(b)(iv) of this section as it pertains to divisions (C)(2)(a), (b), and (c) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code, and divisions (B)(1) to (10) of section 5709.631 of the Revised Code and, as authorized by law, to enforcing any modification to, or revocation of, that agreement by the board of county commissioners or the director of development services or, if the board's powers and duties are delegated under division (G) of this section, by the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or board of township trustees.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 32, SB 112, §1, eff. 10/11/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.47, SB 181, §1, eff. 9/13/2010.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 03-11-2004; 06-09-2004