The Monclova JEDZ journeyWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo’s decision to secretly purchase 1,187 acres in Monclova Township back in the 1980s has been the source of several lawsuits and controversies. A court case first filed in 2004 now appears to be concluded, perhaps finally closing the book on the Maumee, Monclova and Toledo JEDZ disagreements.
In 2001, Monclova, Maumee and Toledo came to an agreement and decided to form a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ).
The discussions continued into 2002, resulting in an agreement to share income tax revenues from 579 acres of land in Monclova Township with the main idea being that each entity would receive one-third of the revenue.
An additional Cooperative Economic Development Agreement (CEDA) was agreed to for land where the Dana Automotive Systems Group Technology Center was built. Maumee was to get half of the income tax revenue with Toledo and Monclova splitting the remainder.
Not all of the residents in that area were pleased with the idea of having a 1.5 percent income tax levied in the JEDZ portion of Monclova. A group called Citizens Against Taxation was formed and some businesses stated the very reason for creating their businesses in Monclova Township, the lack of income taxes, no longer existed.
The start date for the collection of the income tax in Monclova was initially delayed in 2004 when legal questions were raised. Townships do not have the same legal abilities to tax residents and questions were raised about the legality of the contract with Toledo and Maumee. Collection of the income tax began July 1, 2006; a temporary restraining order was sought to prevent the tax from being collected while the court case was still active and it was denied.
Boundaries for the JEDZ had to be redrawn in 2004 to exclude 1 acre of the original 579 because Albin Bauer II, the attorney for those opposing the JEDZ, pointed out there was one registered voter in the JEDZ. He or she would have had the sole yes or no vote, as a resident of a JEDZ area, so rather than take the risk, Toledo City Council, at the request of then-Mayor Jack Ford, agreed to remove that 1 acre of land from the JEDZ and write language so the tax would only apply to commercial properties.
The first ruling from Lucas County Common Pleas Court in David D. Jankowski versus Monclova in April 2005, was in favor of Jankowski and the others who joined him in opposition to the JEDZ. The case twice appeared before the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals and was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court after the last decision was handed down, more in favor of Maumee, Monclova and Toledo, on Jan. 22 this year.
The Ohio Supreme Court recently refused to hear the case, and while the Sixth District Court opinion stated the JEDZ was valid and the taxation could continue, the judges did rule one part in favor of those opposed to the JEDZ. This means Toledo, Maumee and Monclova Township have to change the language of the JEDZ and the CEDA.
A joint meeting with Monclova Township officials and Toledo officials is scheduled an hour before the regular Toledo City Council meeting Aug. 3. Public commentary will be allowed at this meeting.
The two items: “Amend 2003 JEDZ agreement with Maumee and Monclova Twp. to include 3 parcels” and “Enter into Cooperative Economic Development Agreement (CEDA) with Maumee and Monclova Twp.” will be first reading items Aug. 3. This means the vote on them will take place Aug. 17.
After almost 20 years of controversy and six years for this particular lawsuit to make its way through the various courts and appeal process, it does not appear anyone has done the accounting as to how much profit Toledo made once all of the legal fees were deducted.
Perhaps that’s a chapter best left unwritten, since the days of secret land deals have ended and JEDZs are more commonplace.
Toledo Free Press contributor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog Glass City Jungle.