NORTH CANTON  During the regular meeting on June 21, the North Canton City Schools Board of Education approved a settlement agreement with the city of North Canton to settle a complaint with the city’s housing officer surrounding the North Ridge Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which allowed tax abatement for the building of the North Ridge apartment complex.

The district approved a settlement for the past three years and through the remainder of the exemption period which goes through 2025. Per the agreement, the school district will receive the following approximate amounts: $20,080 for 2016, $20,197 for 2015 and $19,861 for 2014. The payment for 2017 will be the same as the 2016 payment.

North Ridge received a 100 percent tax exemption on the then newly constructed dwellings for a period of 12 years beginning in tax year 2014 throught the city's CRA program. The district challenged the city to provide compensation to the district as is required on a commercial property. The settlement amount is 50 percent of the amount of taxes that would have been received without the CRA exemption.

Four residents attended the meeting and asked the board to vote against the agreement stating that the CRA is illegal. They asked the board to modify the agreement so that the district would receive 100 percent of the taxes owed and to negotiate the CRA be ended now instead of the in 2025.

The residents also voiced concerns that the district may not get a levy passed because of the impression the 50 percent settlement may leave on voters.

"As a district and a board, we are not in favor of tax abatement, this agreement is a stop loss," said Superintendent Jeff Wendorf. "In this case, it is a process issue that wasn’t followed properly by the city when they gave the abatement without notifying the district. Without this agreement, we could end up without any tax money if the abatement goes to court and is found to be legal. If it is found to be illegal, this agreement is null and void and the district will receive 100 percent of the taxes owed. We are signing the agreement to protect the district’s money now and in the future."

The board approved the agreement by a three member vote. Two board members abstained. Jordan Greenwald abstained because his previous partner was an investor in North Ridge. Dr. Nancy E. Marion abstained because she didn’t feel she knew enough about the abatement and the agreement to vote either for or against the agreement.

OTHER ACTIONS:

- Approved an out-of-state conference for Kimberly Nidy, director of technology, to attend the Schoology NEXT conference in Chicago.

- Approved an out-of-state competition for the girls golf team and coaches to Covington, Ky., to participate in the Villa Madonna Invite and for the boys and girls golf teams and coaches to Erie, Pa., to participate in the Midwest Prep Tournament. Both trips are at no cost to the board except for the use of a district van.

- Approved paying Vasco Asphalt company for paving work on district grounds in the amount of $122,981 for the bus loop around the high school that goes from 10th Street to 7th Street and $199,434 to pave the east lot next to the stadium.

- Created a new administrative position for middle school dean of students and then approved a two-year contract with Terrie Horn for the position, effective Aug. 1.

- Approved a contract with Health-e-Pro software license for menu planning and food services planning for school years 2017-18 and 2018-19 in the amount of $3,494 annually.

UP NEXT:  The next regular meeting will be 6:00 p.m., July 19 in the media room at Hoover High School.