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Ross County Tax Abatements Challenged in Annual Review

The Ross County Tax Incentive Review Council met in the Ross CountyCommissioners' chambers on March 18th, 2024...not without some friction.

Chillicothe & Ross County — In order to attract or keep industrial development, the state allows local governments to reduce the state taxes on those improvements. The counties are required to hold an annual review of these abatements, and the Ross County Commissioners hosted their review March 18th. 

As the county auditor, Jeff Lehner chaired the council. He said the Ross County Tax Incentive Review Council reviewed four in Chillicothe and 11 out in the county where reduced taxed are hoped to trade off for continued and more taxes for the tax base for the county, township, schools, and (if inside city limits) Chillicothe.

Lehner said they are charged with evaluating the tax incentive agreements to make sure the companies that got them are honoring them in job creation, personal property invest, and real estate improvements. Members include officials from all those local governments, and they consider if they are wise in allowing the abatements, and if are they working out.

But this year’s review engendered some pushback, especially from Zane Trace Schools and Green Township trustees. In return, Tammy Eallonardo, director of Greater Chillicothe and Ross County Development, said that most of the data submitted by the companies was adequate and that continuing the abatements was a reward for investments, and incentive for more.

Most of the abatements were recommended for continuance; the state makes the final decision…but some were reserved for more review by the county council.

Hear Ross County Auditor Jeff Lehner in his own words in the below interview as he explains the process and the meeting.