April 19, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake gives ‘tax rebates’ to businesses

AVON LAKE — City officials are recognizing nearly 140 businesses ranging in size from a small, family-owned bicycle shop to major corporate employers Ford Motor Co. and PolyOne as the first beneficiaries of a new business tax incentive program designed to reward businesses for increasing income tax paid to the city.

A total of $216,000 is being awarded to Avon Lake businesses, including Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant, which got a check for $76,642, and PolyOne, which received almost $46,948.

At the other end of the scale was Marty’s Cycle Shop, a 26-year-old Avon Lake bicycle shop that received $185 after boosting pay for workers, which netted the city a small boost in income tax.

Jake Wearsch, who is a manager for Marty’s Cycle Shop, readily acknowledged $185 isn’t a big payout, but “it’s a decent amount for a couple of guys.”

The shop employs four full-timers and two part-time workers.

“It’s a close group, and it’s been the same workers for years now,” Wearsch said.

Drawing customers from Elyria, Lorain and Oberlin along with Cleveland, Hinckley Township and other municipalities, the business reaped the rewards of its best year ever in 2012, when it sold more than 1,100 bikes.

The cash rewards are the first to be handed out under terms of a plan first proposed in 2012 by Councilman Dan Bocce, at-large, which seeks to recognize and thank Avon Lake businesses that boost the amount of local income tax paid over the previous year by adding workers, paying employees higher wages or more overtime, or any combination of the three.

Companies large and small receive 25 percent of the amount of increased income tax they pay from one year to the next.

“It essentially acts like a rebate,” Mayor Greg Zilka said. “They receive 25 percent of the increased amount paid in income tax, and the city benefits from the other 75 percent.”

Friday’s event was at Thogus Products, a national supplier of plastic injection molding products, that was the recipient of $7,868 from the incentive program because of a small expansion in 2012.

Another company along the city’s Pin Oak Industrial Parkway to benefit from the program was Hinckley Lighting, a supplier of specialty light fixtures that operates a large warehouse.

“Hinckley moved part of its operation into the city in 2011, but moved all of it last year from Cleveland,” Zilka said.

Hinckley received a check for more than $12,000, which was the third-largest sum distributed Friday behind the checks that went to Ford and PolyOne, according to Zilka.

“If there are businesses that have several plants in the area and out-of-state, this type of program would certainly get their attention and let them know the city is business-friendly,” Zilka said.

Other small businesses to benefit from the tax incentive are Emerge, a website development firm that received a check for $353 Friday. The firm relocated to Avon Lake from Elyria in September.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.