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Southwest Licking offered $150k in CARES Act cash to OK Etna development tax break

The Columbus Dispatch |

The district was offered $150,000 in coronavirus relief money if the district approved a tax abatement for a development, an Advocate investigation found.

An email from an attorney stated that Etna Township was “willing to provide” $150,000 in CARES Act funding to Southwest Licking Schools if its school board approved a 15-year, 100% commercial tax abatement.

District officials did not accept the offer.

“My reaction is always, it’s not the township’s money they are offering. They are offering federal money. It’s not costing the township anything,” District Treasurer Richard Jones said. “It was not something I was overly comfortable with, and everybody on the abatement/finance committee weren’t comfortable with saying, ‘Let’s exchange federal monies for an abatement.’ We just weren’t comfortable with it and that’s why we weren’t willing to move forward with it.”

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