130th Ohio General Assembly
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(123rd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 27)



AN ACT
To amend sections 5709.61, 5709.62, 5709.63, 5709.631, and 5723.06 of the Revised Code to specify that certain places of business where electricity is generated are facilities eligible for tax abatements under the enterprise zone program, to prohibit sales of forfeited lands to delinquent property taxpayers, and to permit, for a limited time, the abatement of unpaid property taxes, penalties, and interest owed on property that would have been tax exempt except for a failure to comply with certain tax exemption procedures.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 5709.61, 5709.62, 5709.63, 5709.631, and 5723.06 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 5709.61.  As used in sections 5709.61 to 5709.69 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Enterprise zone" or "zone" means any of the following:

(1) An area with a single continuous boundary designated in the manner set forth in section 5709.62 or 5709.63 of the Revised Code and certified by the director of development as having a population of at least four thousand according to the best and most recent data available to the director and having at least two of the following characteristics:

(a) It is located in a municipal corporation defined by the United States office of management and budget as a central city of a metropolitan statistical area;

(b) It is located in a county designated as being in the "Appalachian region" under the "Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965," 79 Stat. 5, 40 App. U.S.C.A. 403, as amended;

(c) Its average rate of unemployment, during the most recent twelve-month period for which data are available, is equal to at least one hundred twenty-five per cent of the average rate of unemployment for the state of Ohio for the same period;

(d) There is a prevalence of commercial or industrial structures in the area that are vacant or demolished, or are vacant and the taxes charged thereon are delinquent, and certification of the area as an enterprise zone would likely result in the reduction of the rate of vacant or demolished structures or the rate of tax delinquency in the area;

(e) The population of all census tracts in the area, according to the federal census of 1990, decreased by at least ten per cent between the years 1970 and 1990;

(f) At least fifty-one per cent of the residents of the area have incomes of less than eighty per cent of the median income of residents of the municipal corporation or municipal corporations in which the area is located, as determined in the same manner specified under section 119(b) of the "Housing and Community Development Act of 1974," 88 Stat. 633, 42 U.S.C. 5318, as amended;

(g) The area contains structures previously used for industrial purposes but currently not so used due to age, obsolescence, deterioration, relocation of the former occupant's operations, or cessation of operations resulting from unfavorable economic conditions either generally or in a specific economic sector;

(h) An area It is located within one or more adjacent city, local, or exempted village school districts, the income-weighted tax capacity of each of which is less than seventy per cent of the average of the income-weighted tax capacity of all city, local, or exempted village school districts in the state according to the most recent data available to the director from the department of taxation.

The director of development shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code establishing conditions constituting the characteristics described in divisions (A)(1)(d), (g), and (h) of this section.

If an area could not be certified as an enterprise zone unless it satisfied division (A)(1)(g) of this section, the legislative authority may enter into agreements in that zone under section 5709.62, 5709.63, or 5709.632 of the Revised Code only if such agreements result in the development of the facilities described in that division, the parcel of land on which such facilities are situated, or adjacent parcels. The director of development annually shall review all agreements in such zones to determine whether the agreements have resulted in such development; if the director determines that the agreements have not resulted in such development, the director immediately shall revoke certification of the zone and notify the legislative authority of such revocation. Any agreements entered into prior to revocation under this paragraph shall continue in effect for the period provided in the agreement.

(2) An area with a single continuous boundary designated in the manner set forth in section 5709.63 of the Revised Code and certified by the director of development as:

(a) Being located within a county that contains a population of three hundred thousand or less;

(b) Having a population of at least one thousand according to the best and most recent data available to the director;

(c) Having at least two of the characteristics described in divisions (A)(1)(b) to (h) of this section.

(3) An area with a single continuous boundary designated in the manner set forth under division (A)(1) of section 5709.632 of the Revised Code and certified by the director of development as having a population of at least four thousand, or under division (A)(2) of that section and certified as having a population of at least one thousand, according to the best and most recent data available to the director.

(B) "Enterprise" means any form of business organization including, but not limited to, any partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation, including an S corporation as defined in section 1361 of the Internal Revenue Code and any corporation that is majority work-owned either directly through the ownership of stock or indirectly through participation in an employee stock ownership plan.

(C) "Facility" means an enterprise's place of business in a zone, including land, buildings, machinery, equipment, and other materials, except inventory, used in business. "Facility" includes land, buildings, machinery, production and station equipment, other equipment, and other materials, except inventory, used in business to generate electricity that is designed and intended to operate during peak load periods and to generate electricity during no more than four thousand three hundred fifty hours in a calendar year, provided that, for purposes of sections 5709.61 to 5709.69 of the Revised Code, the value of the property at such a facility shall be reduced by the value, if any, that is not apportioned under section 5727.15 of the Revised Code to the taxing district in which the facility is physically located. In the case of such a facility that is physically located in two adjacent taxing districts, the property located in each taxing district constitutes a separate facility.

"Facility" does not include any portion of an enterprise's place of business used primarily for making retail sales unless the place of business is located in an impacted city as defined in section 1728.01 of the Revised Code.

(D) "Vacant facility" means a facility that has been vacant for at least ninety days immediately preceding the date on which an agreement is entered into under section 5709.62 or 5709.63 of the Revised Code.

(E) "Expand" means to make expenditures to add land, buildings, machinery, equipment, or other materials, except inventory, to a facility that equal at least ten per cent of the market value of the facility prior to such expenditures, as determined for the purposes of local property taxation.

(F) "Renovate" means to make expenditures to alter or repair a facility that equal at least fifty per cent of the market value of the facility prior to such expenditures, as determined for the purposes of local property taxation.

(G) "Occupy" means to make expenditures to alter or repair a vacant facility equal to at least twenty per cent of the market value of the facility prior to such expenditures, as determined for the purposes of local property taxation.

(H) "Project site" means all or any part of a facility that is newly constructed, expanded, renovated, or occupied by an enterprise.

(I) "Project" means any undertaking by an enterprise to establish a facility or to improve a project site by expansion, renovation, or occupancy.

(J) "Position" means the position of one full-time employee performing a particular set of tasks and duties.

(K) "Full-time employee" means an individual who is employed for consideration by an enterprise for at least thirty-five hours a week, or who renders any other standard of service generally accepted by custom or specified by contract as full-time employment.

(L) "New employee" means a full-time employee first employed by an enterprise at a facility that is a project site after the enterprise enters an agreement under section 5709.62 or 5709.63 of the Revised Code. "New employee" does not include an employee if, immediately prior to being employed by the enterprise, the employee was employed by an enterprise that is a related member or predecessor enterprise of that enterprise.

(M) "Unemployed person" means any person who is totally unemployed in this state, as that term is defined in division (M) of section 4141.01 of the Revised Code, for at least ten consecutive weeks immediately preceding that person's employment at a facility that is a project site, or who is so unemployed for at least twenty-six of the fifty-two weeks immediately preceding that person's employment at such a facility.

(N) "JTPA eligible employee" means any individual who is eligible for employment or training under the "Job Training Partnership Act," 96 Stat. 1324 (1982), 29 U.S.C. 1501, as amended.

(O) "First used in business" means that the property referred to has not been used in business in this state by the enterprise that owns it, or by an enterprise that is a related member or predecessor enterprise of such an enterprise, other than as inventory, prior to being used in business at a facility as the result of a project.

(P) "Training program" means any noncredit training program or course of study that is offered by any state college or university; university branch district; community college; technical college; nonprofit college or university certified under section 1713.02 of the Revised Code; school district; joint vocational school district; school registered and authorized to offer programs under section 3332.05 of the Revised Code; an entity administering any federal, state, or local adult education and training program; or any enterprise; and that meets all of the following requirements:

(1) It is approved by the director of development;

(2) It is established or operated to satisfy the need of a particular industry or enterprise for skilled or semi-skilled employees;

(3) An individual is required to complete the course or program before filling a position at a project site.

(Q) "Development" means to engage in the process of clearing and grading land, making, installing, or constructing water distribution systems, sewers, sewage collection systems, steam, gas, and electric lines, roads, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, storm drainage facilities, and construction of other facilities or buildings equal to at least fifty per cent of the market value of the facility prior to the expenditures, as determined for the purposes of local property taxation.

(R) "Large manufacturing facility" means a single Ohio facility that employed an average of at least one thousand individuals during the five calendar years preceding an agreement authorized under division (C)(3) of section 5709.62 or division (B)(2) of section 5709.63 of the Revised Code. For purposes of this division, both of the following apply:

(1) A single Ohio manufacturing facility employed an average of at least one thousand individuals during the five calendar years preceding entering into such an agreement if one-fifth of the sum of the number of employees employed on the highest employment day during each of the five calendar years equals or exceeds one thousand.

(2) The highest employment day is the day or days during a calendar year on which the number of employees employed at a single Ohio manufacturing facility was greater than on any other day during the calendar year.

(S) "Business cycle" means the cycle of business activity usually regarded as passing through alternating stages of prosperity and depression.

(T) "Making retail sales" means the effecting of transactions wherein one party is obligated to pay the price and the other party is obligated to provide a service or to transfer title to or possession of the item sold.

(U) "Environmentally contaminated" means that hazardous substances exist at a facility under conditions that have caused or would cause the facility to be identified as contaminated by the state or federal environmental protection agency. These may include facilities located at sites identified in the master sites list or similar database maintained by the state environmental protection agency if the sites have been investigated by the agency and found to be contaminated.

(V) "Remediate" means to make expenditures to clean up an environmentally contaminated facility so that it is no longer environmentally contaminated that equal at least ten per cent of the real property market value of the facility prior to such expenditures as determined for the purposes of property taxation.

(W) "Related member" has the same meaning as defined in section 5733.042 of the Revised Code without regard to division (B) of that section, except that it is used with respect to an enterprise rather than a taxpayer.

(X) "Predecessor enterprise" means an enterprise from which the assets or equity of another enterprise has been transferred, which transfer resulted in the full or partial nonrecognition of gain or loss, or resulted in a carryover basis, both as determined by rule adopted by the tax commissioner.

(Y) "Successor enterprise" means an enterprise to which the assets or equity of another enterprise has been transferred, which transfer resulted in the full or partial nonrecognition of gain or loss, or resulted in a carryover basis, both as determined by rule adopted by the tax commissioner.

Sec. 5709.62.  (A) In any municipal corporation that is defined by the United States office of management and budget as a central city of a metropolitan statistical area, the legislative authority of the municipal corporation may designate one or more areas within its municipal corporation as proposed enterprise zones. Upon designating an area, the legislative authority shall petition the director of development for certification of the area as having the characteristics set forth in division (A)(1) of section 5709.61 of the Revised Code as amended by Substitute Senate Bill No. 19 of the 120th general assembly. Except as otherwise provided in division (E) of this section, on and after July 1, 1994, legislative authorities shall not enter into agreements under this section unless the legislative authority has petitioned the director and the director has certified the zone under this section as amended by that act; however, all agreements entered into under this section as it existed prior to July 1, 1994, and the incentives granted under those agreements shall remain in effect for the period agreed to under those agreements. Within sixty days after receiving such a petition, the director shall determine whether the area has the characteristics set forth in division (A)(1) of section 5709.61 of the Revised Code, and shall forward the findings to the legislative authority of the municipal corporation. If the director certifies the area as having those characteristics, and thereby certifies it as a zone, the legislative authority may enter into an agreement with an enterprise under division (C) of this section.

(B) Any enterprise that wishes to enter into an agreement with a municipal corporation under division (C) of this section shall submit a proposal to the legislative authority of the municipal corporation on a form prescribed by the director of development, together with the application fee established under section 5709.68 of the Revised Code. The form shall require the following information:

(1) An estimate of the number of new employees whom the enterprise intends to hire, or of the number of employees whom the enterprise intends to retain, within the zone at a facility that is a project site, and an estimate of the amount of payroll of the enterprise attributable to these employees;

(2) An estimate of the amount to be invested by the enterprise to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility, including investment in new buildings, additions or improvements to existing buildings, machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures, and inventory;

(3) A listing of the enterprise's current investment, if any, in a facility as of the date of the proposal's submission.

The enterprise shall review and update the listings required under this division to reflect material changes, and any agreement entered into under division (C) of this section shall set forth final estimates and listings as of the time the agreement is entered into. The legislative authority may, on a separate form and at any time, require any additional information necessary to determine whether an enterprise is in compliance with an agreement and to collect the information required to be reported under section 5709.68 of the Revised Code.

(C) Upon receipt and investigation of a proposal under division (B) of this section, if the legislative authority finds that the enterprise submitting the proposal is qualified by financial responsibility and business experience to create and preserve employment opportunities in the zone and improve the economic climate of the municipal corporation, the legislative authority, on or before June 30, 1999, may do one of the following:

(1) Enter into an agreement with the enterprise under which the enterprise agrees to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for one or more of the following incentives:

(a) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to seventy-five per cent, of the assessed value of tangible personal property first used in business at the project site as a result of the agreement. An exemption granted pursuant to this division applies to inventory required to be listed pursuant to sections 5711.15 and 5711.16 of the Revised Code, except that, in the instance of an expansion or other situations in which an enterprise was in business at the facility prior to the establishment of the zone, the inventory which that is exempt is that amount or value of inventory in excess of the amount or value of inventory required to be listed in the personal property tax return of the enterprise in the return for the tax year in which the agreement is entered into.

(b) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to seventy-five per cent, of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property constituting the project site subsequent to formal approval of the agreement by the legislative authority;

(c) Provision for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of any optional services or assistance that the municipal corporation is authorized to provide with regard to the project site.

(2) An Enter into an agreement under which the enterprise agrees to remediate an environmentally contaminated facility, to spend an amount equal to at least two hundred fifty per cent of the true value in money of the real property of the facility prior to remediation as determined for the purposes of property taxation to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy the remediated facility, and to hire new employees or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees at the remediated facility, in return for one or more of the following incentives:

(a) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, not to exceed fifty per cent, of the assessed valuation of the real property of the facility prior to remediation;

(b) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, not to exceed one hundred per cent, of the increase in the assessed valuation of the real property of the facility during or after remediation;

(c) The incentive under division (C)(1)(a) of this section, except that the percentage of the assessed value of such property exempted from taxation shall not exceed one hundred per cent;

(d) The incentive under division (C)(1)(c) of this section.

(3) Enter into an agreement with an enterprise that plans to purchase and operate a large manufacturing facility that has ceased operation or announced its intention to cease operation, in return for exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to one hundred per cent, of the assessed value of tangible personal property used in business at the project site as a result of the agreement, or of the assessed valuation of real property constituting the project site, or both.

(D)(1) Notwithstanding divisions (C)(1)(a) and (b) of this section, the portion of the assessed value of tangible personal property or of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property exempted from taxation under those divisions may exceed seventy-five per cent in any year for which that portion is exempted if the average percentage exempted for all years in which the agreement is in effect does not exceed sixty per cent, or if the board of education of the city, local, or exempted village school district within the territory of which the property is or will be located approves a percentage in excess of seventy-five per cent. For the purpose of obtaining such approval, the legislative authority shall deliver to the board of education a notice not later than forty-five days prior to approving the agreement, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays as defined in section 1.14 of the Revised Code. The notice shall state the percentage to be exempted, an estimate of the true value of the property to be exempted, and the number of years the property is to be exempted. The board of education, by resolution adopted by a majority of the board, shall approve or disapprove the agreement and certify a copy of the resolution to the legislative authority not later than fourteen days prior to the date stipulated by the legislative authority as the date upon which approval of the agreement is to be formally considered by the legislative authority. The board of education may include in the resolution conditions under which the board would approve the agreement, including the execution of an agreement to compensate the school district under division (B) of section 5709.82 of the Revised Code. The legislative authority may approve the agreement at any time after the board of education certifies its resolution approving the agreement to the legislative authority, or, if the board approves the agreement conditionally, at any time after the conditions are agreed to by the board and the legislative authority.

If a board of education has adopted a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements and the resolution remains in effect, approval of an agreement by the board is not required under this division. If a board of education has adopted a resolution allowing a legislative authority to deliver the notice required under this division fewer than forty-five business days prior to the legislative authority's approval of the agreement, the legislative authority shall deliver the notice to the board not later than the number of days prior to such approval as prescribed by the board in its resolution. If a board of education adopts a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements or shortening the notification period, the board shall certify a copy of the resolution to the legislative authority. If the board of education rescinds such a resolution, it shall certify notice of the rescission to the legislative authority.

(2) The legislative authority shall comply with section 5709.83 of the Revised Code unless the board of education has adopted a resolution under that section waiving its right to receive such notice.

(E) This division applies to zones certified by the director of development under this section prior to July 22, 1994.

On or before June 30, 1999, the legislative authority that designated a zone to which this division applies may enter into an agreement with an enterprise if the legislative authority makes the finding required under that division and determines that the enterprise satisfies one of the criteria described in divisions (E)(1) to (5) of this section:

(1) The enterprise currently has no operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations in the zone;

(2) The enterprise currently has operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations at a new location in the zone that would not result in a reduction in the number of employee positions at any of the enterprise's other locations in this state;

(3) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in another state, to the zone;

(4) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to expand operations at an existing site in the zone that the enterprise currently operates;

(5) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in this state, to the zone, and the director of development has issued a waiver for the enterprise under division (B) of section 5709.633 of the Revised Code.

The agreement shall require the enterprise to agree to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility in the zone and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for one or more of the incentives described in division (C) of this section.

(F) All agreements entered into under this section shall be in the form prescribed under section 5709.631 of the Revised Code. After an agreement is entered into under this division, if the legislative authority revokes its designation of a zone, or if the director of development revokes the zone's certification, any entitlements granted under the agreement shall continue for the number of years specified in the agreement.

(G) Except as otherwise provided in this division, an agreement entered into under this section shall require that the enterprise pay an annual fee equal to the greater of one per cent of the dollar value of incentives offered under the agreement or five hundred dollars; provided, however, that if the value of the incentives exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars, the fee shall not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars. The fee shall be payable to the legislative authority once per year for each year the agreement is effective on the days and in the form specified in the agreement. Fees paid shall be deposited in a special fund created for such purpose by the legislative authority and shall be used by the legislative authority exclusively for the purpose of complying with section 5709.68 of the Revised Code and by the tax incentive review council created under section 5709.85 of the Revised Code exclusively for the purposes of performing the duties prescribed under that section. The legislative authority may waive or reduce the amount of the fee charged against an enterprise, but such a waiver or reduction does not affect the obligations of the legislative authority or the tax incentive review council to comply with section 5709.68 or 5709.85 of the Revised Code.

(H) When an agreement is entered into pursuant to this section, the legislative authority authorizing the agreement shall forward a copy of the agreement to the director of development and to the tax commissioner within fifteen days after the agreement is entered into.

(I) After an agreement is entered into, the enterprise shall file with each personal property tax return required to be filed, or annual report required to be filed under section 5727.08 of the Revised Code, while the agreement is in effect, an informational return, on a form prescribed by the tax commissioner for that purpose, setting forth separately the property, and related costs and values, exempted from taxation under the agreement.

(J) Enterprises may agree to give preference to residents of the zone within which the agreement applies relative to residents of this state who do not reside in the zone when hiring new employees under the agreement.

(K) An agreement entered into under this section may include a provision requiring the enterprise to create one or more temporary internship positions for students enrolled in a course of study at a school or other educational institution in the vicinity, and to create a scholarship or provide another form of educational financial assistance for students holding such a position in exchange for the student's commitment to work for the enterprise at the completion of the internship.

Sec. 5709.63.  (A) With the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or of a board of township trustees, a board of county commissioners may, in the manner set forth in section 5709.62 of the Revised Code, designate one or more areas in one or more municipal corporations or in unincorporated areas of the county as proposed enterprise zones. A board of county commissioners may designate no more than one area within a township, or within adjacent townships, as a proposed enterprise zone. The board shall petition the director of development for certification of the area as having the characteristics set forth in division (A)(1) or (2) of section 5709.61 of the Revised Code as amended by Substitute Senate Bill No. 19 of the 120th general assembly. Except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section, on and after July 1, 1994, boards of county commissioners shall not enter into agreements under this section unless the board has petitioned the director and the director has certified the zone under this section as amended by that act; however, all agreements entered into under this section as it existed prior to July 1, 1994, and the incentives granted under those agreements shall remain in effect for the period agreed to under those agreements. The director shall make the determination in the manner provided under section 5709.62 of the Revised Code. Any enterprise wishing to enter into an agreement with the board under division (B) or (D) of this section shall submit a proposal to the board on the form and accompanied by the application fee prescribed under division (B) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code. The enterprise shall review and update the estimates and listings required by the form in the manner required under that division. The board may, on a separate form and at any time, require any additional information necessary to determine whether an enterprise is in compliance with an agreement and to collect the information required to be reported under section 5709.68 of the Revised Code.

(B) If the board of county commissioners finds that an enterprise submitting a proposal is qualified by financial responsibility and business experience to create and preserve employment opportunities in the zone and to improve the economic climate of the municipal corporation or municipal corporations or the unincorporated areas in which the zone is located and to which the proposal applies, the board, on or before June 30, 1999, and with the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or of the board of township trustees may do either of the following:

(1) Enter into an agreement with the enterprise under which the enterprise agrees to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility in the zone and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for the following incentives:

(a) When the facility is located in a municipal corporation, the board may enter into an agreement for one or more of the incentives provided in division (C) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code, subject to division (D) of that section;

(b) When the facility is located in an unincorporated area, the board may enter into an agreement for one or more of the following incentives:

(i) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to sixty per cent, of the assessed value of tangible personal property first used in business at a project site as a result of the agreement. An exemption granted pursuant to this division applies to inventory required to be listed pursuant to sections 5711.15 and 5711.16 of the Revised Code, except, in the instance of an expansion or other situations in which an enterprise was in business at the facility prior to the establishment of the zone, the inventory which that is exempt is that amount or value of inventory in excess of the amount or value of inventory required to be listed in the personal property tax return of the enterprise in the return for the tax year in which the agreement is entered into.

(ii) Exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to sixty per cent, of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property constituting the project site subsequent to formal approval of the agreement by the board;

(iii) Provision for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of any optional services or assistance the board is authorized to provide with regard to the project site;

(iv) The incentive described in division (C)(2) of section 5709.62 of the Revised Code.

(2) Enter into an agreement with an enterprise that plans to purchase and operate a large manufacturing facility that has ceased operation or has announced its intention to cease operation, in return for exemption for a specified number of years, not to exceed ten, of a specified portion, up to one hundred per cent, of tangible personal property used in business at the project site as a result of the agreement, or of real property constituting the project site, or both.

(C)(1) Notwithstanding divisions (B)(1)(b)(i) and (ii) of this section, the portion of the assessed value of tangible personal property or of the increase in the assessed valuation of real property exempted from taxation under those divisions may exceed sixty per cent in any year for which that portion is exempted if the average percentage exempted for all years in which the agreement is in effect does not exceed fifty per cent, or if the board of education of the city, local, or exempted village school district within the territory of which the property is or will be located approves a percentage in excess of sixty per cent. For the purpose of obtaining such approval, the board of commissioners shall deliver to the board of education a notice not later than forty-five days prior to approving the agreement, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays as defined in section 1.14 of the Revised Code. The notice shall state the percentage to be exempted, an estimate of the true value of the property to be exempted, and the number of years the property is to be exempted. The board of education, by resolution adopted by a majority of the board, shall approve or disapprove the agreement and certify a copy of the resolution to the board of commissioners not later than fourteen days prior to the date stipulated by the board of commissioners as the date upon which approval of the agreement is to be formally considered by the board of commissioners. The board of education may include in the resolution conditions under which the board would approve the agreement, including the execution of an agreement to compensate the school district under division (B) of section 5709.82 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners may approve the agreement at any time after the board of education certifies its resolution approving the agreement to the board of county commissioners, or, if the board of education approves the agreement conditionally, at any time after the conditions are agreed to by the board of education and the board of county commissioners.

If a board of education has adopted a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements and the resolution remains in effect, approval of an agreement by the board of education is not required under division (C) of this section. If a board of education has adopted a resolution allowing a board of county commissioners to deliver the notice required under this division fewer than forty-five business days prior to approval of the agreement by the board of county commissioners, the board of county commissioners shall deliver the notice to the board of education not later than the number of days prior to such approval as prescribed by the board of education in its resolution. If a board of education adopts a resolution waiving its right to approve agreements or shortening the notification period, the board of education shall certify a copy of the resolution to the board of county commissioners. If the board of education rescinds such a resolution, it shall certify notice of the rescission to the board of county commissioners.

(2) The board of county commissioners shall comply with section 5709.83 of the Revised Code unless the board of education has adopted a resolution under that section waiving its right to receive such notice.

(D) This division applies to zones certified by the director of development under this section prior to July 22, 1994.

On or before June 30, 1999, and with the consent of the legislative authority of each affected municipal corporation or board of township trustees of each affected township, the board of commissioners that designated a zone to which this division applies may enter into an agreement with an enterprise if the board makes the finding required under that division and determines that the enterprise satisfies one of the criteria described in divisions (D)(1) to (5) of this section:

(1) The enterprise currently has no operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations in the zone;

(2) The enterprise currently has operations in this state and, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to establish operations at a new location in the zone that would not result in a reduction in the number of employee positions at any of the enterprise's other locations in this state;

(3) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in another state, to the zone;

(4) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to expand operations at an existing site in the zone that the enterprise currently operates;

(5) The enterprise, subject to approval of the agreement, intends to relocate operations, currently located in this state, to the zone, and the director of development has issued a waiver for the enterprise under division (B) of section 5709.633 of the Revised Code.

The agreement shall require the enterprise to agree to establish, expand, renovate, or occupy a facility in the zone and hire new employees, or preserve employment opportunities for existing employees, in return for one or more of the incentives described in division (B) of this section.

(E) All agreements entered into under this section shall be in the form prescribed under section 5709.631 of the Revised Code. After an agreement under this section is entered into, if the board of county commissioners revokes its designation of the zone, or if the director of development revokes the zone's certification, any entitlements granted under the agreement shall continue for the number of years specified in the agreement.

(F) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, an agreement entered into under this section shall require that the enterprise pay an annual fee equal to the greater of one per cent of the dollar value of incentives offered under the agreement or five hundred dollars; provided, however, that if the value of the incentives exceeds two hundred fifty thousand dollars, the fee shall not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars. The fee shall be payable to the board of commissioners once per year for each year the agreement is effective on the days and in the form specified in the agreement. Fees paid shall be deposited in a special fund created for such purpose by the board and shall be used by the board exclusively for the purpose of complying with section 5709.68 of the Revised Code and by the tax incentive review council created under section 5709.85 of the Revised Code exclusively for the purposes of performing the duties prescribed under that section. The board may waive or reduce the amount of the fee charged against an enterprise, but such waiver or reduction does not affect the obligations of the board or the tax incentive review council to comply with section 5709.68 or 5709.85 of the Revised Code, respectively.

(G) With the approval of the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or the board of township trustees of a township in which a zone is designated under division (A) of this section, the board of county commissioners may delegate to that legislative authority or board any powers and duties of the board to negotiate and administer agreements with regard to that zone under this section.

(H) When an agreement is entered into pursuant to this section, the legislative authority authorizing the agreement shall forward a copy of the agreement to the director of development and to the tax commissioner within fifteen days after the agreement is entered into.

(I) After an agreement is entered into, the enterprise shall file with each personal property tax return required to be filed, or annual report that is required to be filed under section 5727.08 of the Revised Code, while the agreement is in effect, an informational return, on a form prescribed by the tax commissioner for that purpose, setting forth separately the property, and related costs and values, exempted from taxation under the agreement.

(J) Enterprises may agree to give preference to residents of the zone within which the agreement applies relative to residents of this state who do not reside in the zone when hiring new employees under the agreement.

(K) An agreement entered into under this section may include a provision requiring the enterprise to create one or more temporary internship positions for students enrolled in a course of study at a school or other educational institution in the vicinity, and to create a scholarship or provide another form of educational financial assistance for students holding such a position in exchange for the student's commitment to work for the enterprise at the completion of the internship.

Sec. 5709.631.  Each agreement entered into under sections 5709.62, 5709.63, and 5709.632 of the Revised Code on or after April 1, 1994, shall be in writing and shall include all of the information and statements prescribed by this section. Agreements may include terms not prescribed by this section, but such terms shall in no way derogate from the information and statements prescribed by this section.

(A) Each agreement shall include the following information:

(1) The names of all parties to the agreement;

(2) A description of the investments to be made by the applicant enterprise or by another party at the facility whether or not the investments are exempted from taxation, including existing or new building size and cost thereof; the value of machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures, including an itemization of the value of machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures used at another location in this state prior to the agreement and relocated or to be relocated from that location to the facility and the value of machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures at the facility prior to the execution of the agreement that will not be exempted from taxation; the value of inventory at the facility, including an itemization of the value of inventory held at another location in this state prior to the agreement and relocated or to be relocated from that location to the facility, and the value of inventory held at the facility prior to the execution of the agreement that will not be exempted from taxation;

(3) The scheduled starting and completion dates of investments made in building, machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures, and inventory;

(4) Estimates of the number of employee positions to be created each year of the agreement and of the number of employee positions retained by the applicant enterprise due to the project, itemized as to the number of full-time, part-time, permanent, and temporary positions;

(5) Estimates of the dollar amount of payroll attributable to the positions set forth in division (A)(4) of this section, similarly itemized;

(6) The number of employee positions, if any, at the project site and at any other location in the state at the time the agreement is executed, itemized as to the number of full-time, part-time, permanent, and temporary positions.

(B) Each agreement shall set forth the following information and incorporate the following statements:

(1) A description of real property to be exempted from taxation under the agreement, the percentage of the assessed valuation of the real property exempted from taxation, and the period for which the exemption is granted, accompanied by the statement: "The exemption commences the first year for which the real property would first be taxable were that property not exempted from taxation. No exemption shall commence after .......... (insert date) nor extend beyond .......... (insert date)." The tax commissioner shall adopt rules prescribing the form the description of such property shall assume in order to ensure that the property to be exempted from taxation under the agreement is distinguishable from property that is not to be exempted under that agreement.

(2) A description of tangible personal property to be exempted from taxation under the agreement, the percentage of the assessed value of the tangible personal property exempted from taxation, and the period for which the exemption is granted, accompanied by the statement: "The exemption commences the first year for which the tangible personal property would first be taxable were that property not exempted from taxation. No exemption shall commence after .......... (insert date) nor extend beyond .......... (insert date)." The tax commissioner shall adopt rules prescribing the form the description of such property shall assume in order to ensure that the property to be exempted from taxation under the agreement is distinguishable from property that is not to be exempted under that agreement.

(3) ".......... (insert name of enterprise) shall pay such real and tangible personal property taxes as are not exempted under this agreement and are charged against such property and shall file all tax reports and returns as required by law. If .......... (insert name of enterprise) fails to pay such taxes or file such returns and reports, all incentives granted under this agreement are rescinded beginning with the year for which such taxes are charged or such reports or returns are required to be filed and thereafter."

(4) ".......... (insert name of enterprise) hereby certifies that at the time this agreement is executed, .......... (insert name of enterprise) does not owe any delinquent real or tangible personal property taxes to any taxing authority of the State of Ohio, and does not owe delinquent taxes for which .......... (insert name of enterprise) is liable under Chapter 5727., 5733., 5735., 5739., 5741., 5743., 5747., or 5753. of the Revised Code, or, if such delinquent taxes are owed, .......... (insert name of enterprise) currently is paying the delinquent taxes pursuant to an undertaking enforceable by the State of Ohio or an agent or instrumentality thereof, has filed a petition in bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C.A. 101, et seq., or such a petition has been filed against .......... (insert name of enterprise). For the purposes of the certification, delinquent taxes are taxes that remain unpaid on the latest day prescribed for payment without penalty under the chapter of the Revised Code governing payment of those taxes."

(5) ".......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) shall perform such acts as are reasonably necessary or appropriate to effect, claim, reserve, and maintain exemptions from taxation granted under this agreement including, without limitation, joining in the execution of all documentation and providing any necessary certificates required in connection with such exemptions."

(6) "If for any reason the enterprise zone designation expires, the Director of the Ohio Department of Development revokes certification of the zone, or .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) revokes the designation of the zone, entitlements granted under this agreement shall continue for the number of years specified under this agreement, unless .......... (insert name of enterprise) materially fails to fulfill its obligations under this agreement and .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) terminates or modifies the exemptions from taxation granted under this agreement."

(7) "If .......... (insert name of enterprise) materially fails to fulfill its obligations under this agreement, or if .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) determines that the certification as to delinquent taxes required by this agreement is fraudulent, .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) may terminate or modify the exemptions from taxation granted under this agreement."

(8) ".......... (insert name of enterprise) shall provide to the proper tax incentive review council any information reasonably required by the council to evaluate the enterprise's compliance with the agreement, including returns or annual reports filed pursuant to section 5711.02 or 5727.08 of the Ohio Revised Code if requested by the council."

(9) ".......... (insert name of enterprise) and .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) acknowledge that this agreement must be approved by formal action of the legislative authority of .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county) as a condition for the agreement to take effect. This agreement takes effect upon such approval."

(10) "This agreement is not transferable or assignable without the express, written approval of .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county)."

(11) "Exemptions from taxation granted under this agreement shall be revoked if it is determined that ............... (insert name of enterprise), any successor enterprise, or any related member (as those terms are defined in section 5709.61 of the Ohio Revised Code) has violated the prohibition against entering into this agreement under division (E) of section 3735.671 or section 5709.62, 5709.63, or 5709.632 of the Ohio Revised Code prior to the time prescribed by that division or either of those sections."

The statement described in division (B)(7) of this section may include the following statement, appended at the end of the statement: "and may require the repayment of the amount of taxes that would have been payable had the property not been exempted from taxation under this agreement."

(C) If the director of development had to issue a waiver under section 5709.633 of the Revised Code as a condition for the agreement to be executed, the agreement shall include the following statement:

"Continuation of this agreement is subject to the validity of the circumstance upon which .......... (insert name of enterprise) applied for, and the Director of the Ohio Department of Development issued, the waiver pursuant to section 5709.633 of the Ohio Revised Code. If, after formal approval of this agreement by .......... (insert name of municipal corporation or county), the Director or ............. (insert name of municipal corporation or county) discovers that such a circumstance did not exist, ........... (insert name of enterprise) shall be deemed to have materially failed to comply with this agreement."

If the director issued a waiver on the basis of the circumstance described in division (B)(3) of section 5709.633 of the Ohio Revised Code, the conditions enumerated in divisions (B)(3)(a)(i) and (ii) or divisions (B)(3)(b)(i) and (ii) of that section shall be incorporated in the information described in divisions (A)(2), (3), and (4) of this section.

Sec. 5723.06.  (A)(1) The county auditor, on the day set for the sale of forfeited lands provided in section 5723.04 of the Revised Code, shall attend at the courthouse and offer for sale the whole of each tract of land as contained in the list provided for in such section, at public auction, to the highest bidder, for an amount sufficient to pay the lesser of the amounts described in divisions (A)(1) and (2) of section 5721.16 of the Revised Code.

The county auditor shall offer each tract separately, beginning with the first tract contained in the list.

(2) If no bid is received for any of the tracts in an amount sufficient to pay the required amount, and no notice is given under section 5722.04 of the Revised Code or division (B) of this section, the auditor may offer such tract for sale forthwith, and sell it for the best price obtainable. The county auditor shall continue through such list and may adjourn the sale from day to day until the county auditor has disposed of or offered for sale each tract of land specified in the notice. The county auditor may offer a tract of land two or more times at the same sale.

(3) Notwithstanding the minimum sales price provisions of divisions (A)(1) and (2) of this section to the contrary, forfeited lands sold pursuant to this section shall not be sold for in either of the following circumstances:

(a) To any person that is delinquent on real property taxes in this state;

(b) For less than the total amount of the taxes, assessments, penalties, interest, and costs that stand charged against the land if the highest bidder is the owner of record of the parcel immediately prior to the judgment of foreclosure or foreclosure and forfeiture, or a member of the following class of parties connected to that owner: a member of that owner's immediate family, a person with a power of attorney appointed by that owner who subsequently transfers the parcel to the owner, a sole proprietorship owned by that owner or a member of that owner's immediate family, or a partnership, trust, business trust, corporation, or association in which the owner or a member of the owner's immediate family owns or controls directly or indirectly more than fifty per cent. If

If a parcel sells for less than the total amount of the taxes, assessments, penalties, interest, and costs that stand charged against it, the officer conducting the sale shall require the buyer to complete an affidavit prepared by the officer stating that the buyer is not the owner of record immediately prior to the judgment of foreclosure or foreclosure and forfeiture, or a member of the specified class of parties connected to that owner, and the affidavit shall become part of the court records of the proceeding. If the county auditor discovers within three years after the date of the sale that a parcel was sold to that owner or a member of the specified class of parties connected to that owner for a price less than the amount so described, and if the parcel is still owned by that owner or a member of the specified class of parties connected to that owner, the auditor within thirty days after such discovery shall add the difference between that amount and the sale price to the amount of taxes that then stand charged against the parcel and is payable at the next succeeding date for payment of real property taxes. As used in this paragraph, "immediate family" means a spouse who resides in the same household and children.

(B) The director of natural resources may give written notice to the auditor prior to the time of the sale of the director's intention to purchase forfeited land for the state. Such notice is a legal minimum bid at the time of the sale, and, if no bid is received in an amount sufficient to pay the lesser of the amounts described in divisions (A)(1) and (2) of section 5721.16 of the Revised Code, the land is deemed sold to the state for no consideration. The director of natural resources shall record the deed.

(C) The sale of forfeited land under this section conveys the title to the tract or parcel of land, divested of all liability for any taxes, assessments, charges, penalties, interest, and costs due at the time of sale that remain after applying the amount for which it was sold, except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section.

(D) If the parcel is sold for the amount described in division (A)(2) of section 5721.16 of the Revised Code, and the county treasurer's estimate of that amount exceeds the amount of taxes, assessments, interest, penalties, and costs actually payable when the deed is transferred to the purchaser, the county auditor shall refund to the purchaser the difference between the estimate and the amount actually payable. If the amount of taxes, assessments, interest, penalties, and costs actually payable when the deed is transferred to the purchaser exceeds the county treasurer's estimate, the county auditor shall certify the amount of the excess to the treasurer, who shall enter that amount on the real and public utility property tax duplicate opposite the property; the amount of the excess shall be payable at the next succeeding date prescribed for payment of taxes in section 323.12 of the Revised Code.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 5709.61, 5709.62, 5709.63, 5709.631, and 5723.06 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3 .  As used in this section, "qualified property" means real and tangible personal property that satisfies the qualifications for tax exemption under the terms of section 3313.44, 5709.07, 5709.08, 5709.10, 5709.12, 5709.121, or 5709.14 of the Revised Code.

Notwithstanding section 5713.081 of the Revised Code, when qualified property has not received tax exemption due to a failure to comply with Chapter 5713. or section 5715.27 of the Revised Code, the owner of the property, at any time on or before six months after the effective date of this section, may file with the Tax Commissioner an application requesting that the property be placed on the tax exempt list and that all unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest on the property be abated.

The application shall be made on the form prescribed by the Tax Commissioner under section 5715.27 of the Revised Code and shall list the name of the county in which the property is located; the property's legal description; its taxable value; the amount in dollars of the unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest; the date of acquisition of title to the property; the use of the property during any time that the unpaid taxes accrued; and any other information required by the commissioner. The county auditor shall supply the required information upon request of the applicant.

Upon request of the applicant, the county treasurer shall determine if all taxes, penalties, and interest that became a lien on the qualified property before it first was used for an exempt purpose and all special assessments charged against the property have been paid in full. If so, the county treasurer shall issue a certificate to the applicant stating that all such taxes, penalties, interest, and assessments have been paid in full. Prior to filing the application with the Tax Commissioner, the applicant shall attach the county treasurer's certificate to it. The commissioner shall not consider an application filed under this section unless such a certificate is attached to it.

Upon receipt of the application and after consideration of it, the Tax Commissioner shall determine if the applicant meets the qualifications set forth in this section, and if so shall issue an order directing that the property be placed on the tax exempt list of the county and that all unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest for every year the property met the qualifications for exemption described in section 3313.44, 5709.07, 5709.08, 5709.10, 5709.12, 5709.121, or 5709.14 of the Revised Code be abated. If the commissioner finds that the property is not now being so used or is being used for a purpose that would foreclose its right to tax exemption, the commissioner shall issue an order denying the application.

If the Tax Commissioner finds that the property is not entitled to tax exemption and to the abatement of unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest for any of the years for which the owner claims an exemption or abatement, the commissioner shall order the county treasurer of the county in which property is located to collect all taxes, penalties, and interest due on the property for those years in accordance with law.

The Tax Commissioner may apply this section to any qualified property that is the subject of an application for exemption pending before the commissioner on the effective date of this section, without requiring the property owner to file an additional application. The commissioner also may apply this section to any qualified property that is the subject of an application for exemption filed on or after the effective date of this section and on or before six months after that effective date, even though the application does not expressly request abatement of unpaid taxes.

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