Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Lakota gets compensation

After 9-month delay, Wal-Mart deal will give schools $9M over 30 years

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Lakota Schools have reached a compensation agreement for a tax exemption granted last year in West Chester Township by Butler County commissioners.

Commissioners Monday decided to give Lakota at least $300,000 a year - or $9 million over 30 years - from a 75-acre development for a new Wal-Mart superstore at Cincinnati-Dayton Road and Interstate 75.

"We're satisfied with the agreement," Alan Hutchinson, Lakota treasurer, said.

This will not be new money for the schools, he said. The payments will equal what Lakota would have received in tax revenue from the land if commissioners had not created a tax-increment financing district for the developer, Neyer Properties of Evendale.

Tax-increment financing is a development tool that uses property taxes generated by a development to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Commissioners granted the tax exemption for the Wal-Mart after township trustees turned down a similar request earlier last year.

Trustees last month responded by creating a tax-increment financing district for the six-mile length of Cincinnati-Dayton Road in the township, from Crescentville Road to Hamilton-Mason Road - except for the Neyer property. Funds will be used to redevelop Olde West Chester.

The nine-month delay in completing the school compensation deal was cited last month by Lakota board members expressing their displeasure with the county's plans for similar tax-increment financing districts for new unbuilt subdivisions.

The Butler Technology and Career Development Schools (formerly D. Russel Lee Vocational School) also will receive a small portion of the revenues for 30 years under the agreement.


E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com

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