Hilliard Northwest News

City Council plans to offer Verizon $4.2M tax break


Hilliard would net an estimated $18.8 million during the 10-year term of an economic-incentive agreement city officials plan to offer Verizon for relocating 1,500 employees to Hilliard next year and creating 500 new jobs.

The value of the incentive to Verizon is estimated at $4.2 million over the 10 years, during which Verizon would receive a 50 percent incentive on income-tax withholding for amounts in excess of $72 million.

The employees are scheduled to move from Verizon's leased offices on Emerald Parkway in Dublin to the offices it owns at 5000 Britton Parkway between February and May next year.

Verizon is expected to add 100 jobs per year for the next five years.

In 2015, the first full year of the incentive, the Verizon payroll is estimated at almost $90 million, including the projected 100 new jobs.

At the end of 10 years, withholding for all employees is estimated at $23 million, with the city netting $18.8 million of the amount, Economic Development Director David Meeks said.

"It cannot be overstated how significant this is," City Council President Brett Sciotto said at the March 11 meeting of the Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Committee meeting, where legislation authorizing the incentive agreement was introduced.

The ordinance authorizing the agreement received a first reading at the City Council meeting later that evening.

It is scheduled for a second reading at the March 25 meeting, and is expected to be adopted as emergency legislation.

Sciotto called the effort a "massive victory" for the city.

Verizon also is applying for tax credits at the state level, Meeks said.

Jeff Brown, Smith and Hale attorney representing Verizon, called the agreement "truly a partnership between the entities."

In other action at the March 11 meeting, City Council members adopted legislation authorizing a contract with Stantec Consulting for a pedestrian and mobility program and a battery of ordinances authorizing the issuance of bonds in varying amounts for a multitude of purchases and capital improvement projects, including the improvements of sanitary sewer lift stations, stormwater system improvements and the refinancing of existing bonds.

A public hearing was held for a proposed ordinance permitting the sale and possession of alcohol at designated public locations, including Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park and during the Old Hilliardfest Art and Street Fair.

Ed Daniel, of the Hilliard Civic Association, spoke in favor of the policy.

The ordinance is scheduled for a third and final reading at the March 25 City Council meeting.