Dublin City Council voted 6-0 on May 20, to approve an incentive package that could result in a business adding 126 new employees by December 2024 and growing that number to 193 by the end of 2025.

Northwoods, 5815 Wall St. in Dublin, is a tech company focused on human services that produces software for social workers and caseworkers to manage data more efficiently.

According to an April 30 memo from City Manager Dana McDaniel to council members, the company plans to purchase a new building and expand from 20,000 square feet of office space to 50,000 square feet.

Northwoods Chief Technology Officer Don Abney said the company has been in business for more than 20 years, and has spent 14 of those years in Dublin. The business was in the Worthington area before moving to Dublin.

Company officials decided to stay in Dublin because the community is extraordinarily safe and offers a great variety of food and entertainment, he said.

“Our people like it here,” Abney said.

The company would receive a $30,000 relocation grant from the city once it has acquired and occupied the new office space, according to the memo.

Because Northwoods still is negotiating, Abney said, he isn’t able to disclose the business’ future location. If everything goes according to plan, staff will move by the first quarter of 2020, he said.

The agreement also includes a six-year performance incentive on income-tax withholdings collected for all employees from 2019 through 2024 that would be capped at $300,000 total.

The first four years would be a 15% performance incentive on withholdings, and the next two years would be 10%, according to the memo.

For example, for 2019, Northwoods' target withholdings is $268,202. The city would reimburse Northwoods 15% of that amount but not more than $45,000.

Here's the yearly breakdown, according to McDaniel's memo:

CALENDAR YEAR INCENTIVE FACTOR TARGET INCOME-TAX WITHHOLDINGS CAP REIMBURSEMENT 2019 15% $268,202 $45,000 2020 15% $286,742 $45,000 2021

15%

$328,117 $55,000 2022 15% $372,372 $60,000 2023 10% $423,020 $45,000 2024 10% $476,926 $50,000 TOTAL   $2,155,379 $300,000

Funds for the incentives would come from the city's nontax revenue, such as licenses, fines, building permits and services provided to outside agencies, such as the Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center, according to Sue Burness, the city's communications director.

Colleen Gilger, Dublin's economic-development director, said all incentives must come from nontax revenues, per state law.

"Every community in Ohio has to do this; it’s not new and it’s not unique. It’s just the rules," she said. "Even though some communities call their incentives 'income-tax rebates,' the actual payments are not rebated from tax dollars, ever."

As part of the agreement, Northwoods would agree to increase its annual payroll by $16 million by the end of 2025, according to the memo. Northwoods is expected to retain 154 employees and hire 126 new ones by the end of 2024, according to the memo.

Northwoods currently has 119 full-time-equivalent employees, according to Kyle Kridler, Dublin's economic-development administrator, and is expected to have 154 by the end of this year. The company is projecting to grow to 312 employees by the end of 2025, representing 193 new employees, he said. 

The total estimated payroll over the six-year incentives term is expected to be about $2.155 million, according to the memo, and the city expects to net approximately $2,359,620 over seven years.

Kridler said Northwoods isn't ready to disclose the location of the building, saying the company still is in negotiations and hasn't closed on it.

"But once the agreement is made final (should council pass it) and they close on the property, they will be willing to share its location," he said.

ThisWeek assistant managing editor Scott Hummel contributed to this story.

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