Senate Bill 71 has passed, but the Avon school board may not be too happy with the money they will receive from the new tax-exempt status placed on the .
Currently, every stadium in the state of Ohio is tax-exempt, with the exception of All Pro Freight Stadium, because the are not affiliated with a Major League Baseball team. Tax exemption can be a powerful economic development tool. Stadiums bring people into the community – hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment venues see a jump in business.
Without a tax-exempt status, teams not affiliated with a major league club could not afford to be created, said. With interest from Sandusky, Mansfield, and Mason to have their own independent clubs, Ohio could see an increase in competition and economic development.
On March 29, the Lorain County Board of Revision held a hearing to determine value for the land, but no decision has been made. The city is attempting to get the value changed from $14.5 million to $3 million; a difference of actual land value versus stadium usage. If the land is appraised at the lower value, will still receive the same amount of money.
Once the value is assessed, Smith will bring the legislation to Avon City Council – members have already signaled approval of the plan – and will hand the agreed-upon dollars over to the school, between $25,000 and $40,000. His goal is to get this all in writing, he said, so it will be guaranteed even after he leaves office.
“We want to make sure our school system gets a piece of the pie,” Mayor Smith commented. “The schools want to get it in writing.”
Mayor Smith calls this a goodwill gift to the schools to help cover the money they would receive if the stadium was still being taxed. The schools, in turn, could use the stadium free of charge for baseball games.
School board president Susan Harrison says this is not an ideal situation for Avon. “We appreciate the city trying to help, but [tax exemption] puts the responsibility on the taxpayers,” she said.
Currently, the school board does not have a formal agreement with the city.
“There have been some talks with the mayor on this, and we will continue to talk it through as the Lorain County Board of Revisions determines the stadium property value,” said school board member Scott Radcliffe.