Dublin City Council members aren't sure they support an agreement in the works that would curb job poaching among 10 central Ohio communities.

Dublin City Council members aren't sure they support an agreement in the works that would curb job poaching among 10 central Ohio communities.

During a Jan. 23 meeting, council members expressed doubts over an agreement started by Columbus that seeks to stop cities from using incentives to lure companies from one community to another.

Details are still being worked out on the agreement, but Dublin was one of 10 cities that signed a letter of intent for the agreement. Columbus, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Worthington, New Albany, Westerville and Grandview Heights also are involved.

Dublin city manager Marsha Grigsby told council the meetings that have been held over the past year have looked into stopping the use of incentives to move companies around central Ohio.

"We're looking for a way to work together to keep these businesses from moving from one community to another," she said, noting that they want to focus on drawing new businesses to the area.

Council member John Reiner urged the city to be cautious before details are worked out.

"The concept is great, but it's too early to engage in a conversation," he said, adding that everyone should participate and if one city drops out it could ruin things.

"The state allows certain parameters in economic development," council member Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher said. "I don't understand how we can engage in these agreements when we have a responsibility to provide a tax stream ..."

Council member Michael Keenan agreed, calling the process "insincere" and adding communities are "always in competition."

Council member Richard Gerber told ThisWeek, his responsibility on council is to look out for Dublin residents.

"Any agreement I look at, I want to determine what's in the best interest of the residents," he said. "The concept is OK, but the devil is always in the details."

Chinnici-Zuercher asked Grigsby to have a conversation with council on it before any details are worked out so the city is properly represented.

"I'm also concerned that this discussion will get relatively far along and then come back to us," Mayor Tim Lecklider said. "Then we're the naysayers."

Although council members expressed uncertainty about any anti-job-poaching agreement, a resolution regarding a regional fleet maintenance service agreement was approved without any discussion.

Sharing such services as fleet maintenance services was another goal of Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman when he got the group together. Sharing services could help cities save money.

The agreement approved by council last week includes Columbus, Gahanna, Grandview Heights, Hilliard, New Albany, Upper Arlington, Westerville and Worthington. According to the staff report to council it "allows each member community to enter into separate, specific and mutually agreed upon contracts for fleet maintenance services with any other member community."

Gerber said council members will likely discuss sharing services further at an upcoming council retreat.

"If there is an opportunity to maximize our dollars and reduce costs I think everybody would be interested in look at that," he said. "Also keep in mind when we say reduce costs, in no way, shape or form are we talking about reducing quality. It has to make sense."

According to Lecklider, Dublin already shares some services and had discussions after it was recommended by Gov. John Kasich to save cities money. "Council is fully supportive of shared services," he said. "We do it already in some areas with success."