Blendon Township residents will decide in November whether Westerville will collect income taxes on their behalf.

Blendon Township residents will decide in November whether Westerville will collect income taxes on their behalf.

Both Westerville City Council and Blendon Township Trustees last week approved legislation to establish a Joint Economic Development Zone between the two governments. The legislation now will go before Blendon Township voters Nov. 6.

The JEDZ would operate as a 30-year agreement between the city and the township.

Under the agreement, the city would collect its 2-percent income tax on commercial and undeveloped residential properties in Blendon Township.

Township in Ohio are not permitted to collect an income tax. The JEDZ would allow Blendon to start collecting through Westerville's authority, with some of the money going to the city.

The city would retain 2 percent of the total taxes collected to cover the cost of collection, the zone's administrative board would retain 2 percent for administration, and 10 percent would be dedicated to capital improvements in the township.

The remainder would be split between city and township, with 25 percent going to the city and 75 percent going to the township.

Money collected through the JEDZ would allow the township to reinvest in infrastructure, such as improving its portion of state Route 3 to match Westerville's ongoing South State Street improvements, and to actively work on economic development, said Blendon Township Administrator Bryan Rhoads.

With the agreement, Westerville will providing consulting on economic development to the township.

The JEDZ would be overseen by a board comprising three township representatives and three city representatives.

City and township officials touted creation of the development zone as beneficial to residents of both municipalities.

"The city and the township have a long history together that's been unusually satisfactory," said Westerville City Councilman Craig Treneff. "I think it's truly a win-win for both the township and the city."

Rhoads agreed.

"This is going to be tax revenue that's directed back to the township that's (now) lost to other communities," he said. "The JEDZ is going to be amazing, and it's win-win for everyone. It's a reinvestment into the community."

In addition to the legislation for the joint economic development agreement, the township and the city will have to approve a cooperative economic development agreement that will allow for the sharing of the JEDZ funds and for Westerville's providing of consulting services, said Westerville Economic Development Administrator Jason Bechtold.