finding your wayA new economic-development tool in Columbia Township is performing well.

Township officials had projected a new business tax connected to its joint economic-development zone with Fairfax would produce about $706,000 annually for economic-development efforts, and it produced $760,000 in 2015.

“The JEDZ performance is critical to the delivery of services and economic development aid and assistance provided to current and new businesses considering Columbia Township,” township Administrator Michael Lemon said.

“It is generating new opportunities that will help assure the viability and sustainability of our community for the future.

“It played a significant role in bringing the new CBT headquarters to the township last year and we hope to use it to bring additional businesses through creative partnerships as we move forward,” Lemon said.

The CBT Co. is moving its headquarters from downtown Cincinnati to the former Kmart site at 5500 Ridge Ave. in Columbia Township – and bringing 120 employees with it.

Columbia Township agreed to issue up to $2.85 million in revenue bonds to help CBT build a 95,000-square-foot facility with 55,000 square feet of warehouse space and 40,000 square feet of office space.

CBT, which supplies automation, power transmission, electrical, belting and pneumatic products and services, will pay the township back over the next 30 years in lieu of paying property taxes.

Columbia Township expects to receive about $50,000 for each of the first 10 years from CBT and $100,000 a year after that, but the sums are dependent upon the number of jobs created and their salaries.

CBT President James Stahl Jr. has said the company was disappointed that Cincinnati didn’t do anything to help keep it in that city.

With the approval of Columbia Township voters in November 2013, the township and Fairfax forged one of the last joint economic-development zone partnerships before the state outlawed the zones.

In April 2014 the partners began assessing a 1 percent income tax on people who work and businesses that operate in Columbia Township commercial areas on Wooster Pike, on Plainville Road and at Ridge and Highland avenues.

Fairfax, which is a village, gets a cut of the proceeds for collecting the income tax, which Ohio law says townships cannot do.

Meanwhile, the Columbia Township Board of Trustees has given 3 percent raises to its five full-time employees and one part-time employee.

“The increase was based upon cost-of-living and a wage survey of Center for Local Government members for similar positions and merit,” Lemon said.

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