715.692 Creation of joint economic development review council.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Assessed value" means the assessed value of a parcel listed on the most recent tax list and duplicate or, if the parcel is exempted from taxation, the list of exempt property, compiled by the county auditor under section 319.28 or 5713.08 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Business" means a sole proprietorship, a corporation for profit, a pass-through entity as defined in section 5733.04 of the Revised Code, the federal government, the state, the state's political subdivisions, a nonprofit organization, or a school district.

(3) "Contracting party" means a municipal corporation, county, or township that is a party to a joint economic development zone contract under section 715.691 of the Revised Code or, if the contract has not yet taken effect, will be a party to such a contract.

(4) A business "operates within" a zone if the net profits of the business or the income of employees of the business would be subject to an income tax levied within the zone.

(5) "Economic development plan" means the economic development plan required to be included in a joint economic development zone contract under division (C) of section 715.691 of the Revised Code.

(6) "Owner" means a partner of a partnership, a member of a limited liability company, a majority shareholder of an S corporation, a person with a majority ownership interest in a pass-through entity, or any officer, employee, or agent with authority to make decisions legally binding upon a business.

(7) "Record owner" means the person or persons in whose name a parcel is listed on the tax list or exempt list compiled by the county auditor under section 319.28 or 5713.08 of the Revised Code.

(8) "Substantial amendment" has the same meaning as in section 715.691 of the Revised Code.

(B) Before enacting ordinances or resolutions to approve a joint economic development zone contract under section 715.691 of the Revised Code or adopting a substantial amendment to such a contract, the contracting parties shall create a joint economic development review council. The purpose of the council is to review the economic development plan included in the joint economic development zone contract or amendment to the contract, and either approve the plan or disapprove the plan and provide recommendations to the contracting parties for ways in which the plan may be modified to meet the approval of the council.

The council is a public body for the purposes of section 121.22 of the Revised Code, and it is a public office for the purposes of section 149.43 of the Revised Code. Members of the council shall not be considered to be holding a direct or indirect interest in a contract or expenditure of money by a contracting party because of their affiliation with the council.

(C)

(1) The county auditor of the county in which the largest portion of the territory of the zone is located shall serve as chairperson of the joint economic development council. The auditor shall continue in the office of chairperson until the council is dissolved under division (G) of this section or the boundaries of the joint economic development zone are reconfigured by the contracting parties in such a way that a different county contains the largest portion of the territory of the zone.

(2) The contracting parties shall appoint the other members of the council as follows:

(a) One appointed member shall be a person affiliated with an economic development organization that provides services for, or advocates on behalf of, businesses operating within the zone or, if there are no businesses currently operating within the zone, businesses operating in the area surrounding the zone.

(b) One appointed member shall be a member of the public appointed by joint agreement of the contracting parties.

(c) Except as provided by division (C)(2)(d) of this section, four appointed members shall be owners of businesses operating within the zone or an individual designated by such an owner. The contracting parties shall first appoint the owners of the four businesses that employ the most persons within the zone. If one or more of these owners is unwilling or unable to serve as a member of the council or to designate an individual to serve in the owner's place, the contracting parties shall appoint the owner of the business that employs the next most number of persons within the zone until each position to be appointed under this division is filled. No business may have more than one owner or a designee thereof serving as a member of the council at any time.

(d) If there are not four owners of businesses operating within the zone who will accept an appointment or designate an individual to serve on the council as prescribed by division (C)(2)(c) of this section, the contracting parties shall appoint record owners of real property located within the zone to the remaining positions on the council. The contracting parties shall first appoint the record owner of the parcel or parcels with the greatest aggregate assessed value within the zone or an individual designated by that record owner. If the record owner is unwilling or unable to serve or designate an individual to serve as a member of the council, the contracting parties shall appoint the record owner of the parcel or parcels with the next greatest aggregate assessed value within the zone or an individual designated by that record owner until each position on the council is filled. If there are not enough record owners of real property located within the zone who will accept an appointment or designate an individual to serve on the council as prescribed by this division, the number of members of the council shall be reduced accordingly.

(D)

(1) The joint economic development review council shall hold at least one public meeting before ordinances or resolutions are enacted by the contracting parties to approve the contract or a substantial amendment to the contract. The chairperson shall provide public notice of the time and place of each meeting in a newspaper of general circulation in the area or areas to be included in the zone. Attendance by the chairperson and at least one-half of the appointed members of the council constitutes a quorum to conduct the business of the council.

(2) At the meeting, the council shall review the economic development plan for the zone and consider the question of whether the plan is in the best interests of the zone. The council shall allow each contracting party, or a representative thereof, the opportunity to present testimony on the economic development plan and on any other relevant provisions of the joint economic development zone contract. The council shall also allow time, during the meeting or meetings, for public comment and recommendations on the economic development plan and the joint economic development zone. The council may hold an executive session in the manner provided in section 122.22 of the Revised Code.

(3) If the council, by majority vote of the membership of the council, determines that the plan is in the best interests of the zone, the plan is thereby approved and the ordinances or resolutions approving the contract may be enacted as provided in section 715.691 of the Revised Code; otherwise, the plan is not approved and such ordinances or resolutions may not be enacted. If the plan is not approved, the council shall provide recommendations to the contracting parties for ways in which the economic development plan may be modified to meet the approval of the council. Such recommendations shall be in writing and shall be sent to each contracting party within fourteen days after the vote of the council on the economic development plan.

(E) The joint economic development review council shall dissolve by operation of law upon approving the economic development plan.

(F) The contracting parties shall make appropriations as are necessary to pay the costs incurred by the council in the exercise of its functions under this section. The costs incurred by a council in any year shall not exceed ten thousand dollars.

(G) If, on the effective date of H.B. 289 of the 130th general assembly, the contracting parties to a joint economic development zone contract have enacted ordinances or resolutions approving the contract but the contract has not yet been submitted to the electors under division (F) of section 715.691 of the Revised Code, the contracting parties shall recall the contract from the county board of elections and comply with this section as if the contracting parties had not yet enacted ordinances or resolutions approving the contract.

History. Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 289, §1, eff. 6/5/2014.