In his agenda for the meeting of the Southern Ohio Port Authority, Director Jason Kester noted SOPA has had multiple meetings with the Scioto County Auditor’s Office, the Scioto County Engineer’s Office and the city of Portsmouth on the commercial building inventory. He said once the process is completed the Land Bank properties may be added to the map.
The agenda went on to say a preliminary scrub of the data indicates that nearly $240 million dollars of property is abated or tax exempt in the city of Portsmouth.
That revelation prompted the Daily Times to contact Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen for an explanation.
“I only know what Jason Kester described on his review of taxable property in Portsmouth. That number is not really abatements but is nontaxable exempt property,” Allen said. “That number is not hard to comprehend when you consider the amount of city-owned, county owned, school district, university, and church property. Add in non profits and other tax exempt property then it makes sense. Then add tax delinquents onto the taxable property and one can see the challenges Jason and I face.”
The Times asked Kester if he could break down the figures by abatement, tax exemption and delinquent taxes.
“We’re conducting the commercial building inventory for roughly the area from the Eighth Street Viaduct, to the Second Street Bridge, south of U.S. 52. Once we have the complete data set, we’re going to start a break-down of all of the property, verify those structures receiving an abatement should be receiving an abatement, etc.,” Kester said. “The $200 million in property valuation figure is just abated, we’re still working through delinquency, and that’s only for the area above – that’s not the entire city. But, it’s expected in a community where your two largest employers are the college and the hospital. Portsmouth relies heavily on the income tax to maintain its General Fund and operating budget. If we had more commercial and industrial properties – they generate more property taxes which would enable the City to provide more services. However, a key thing to remember is that a lot of the development over the last 10 years has been aided by the city and their programs and we’re thankful for that development.”
Kester said right now, SOPA is in the very preliminary stages of analyzing the data, but they have to gather the data and present it to the city so that they can make data driven decisions.
Adam and Scott have had multiple meetings with the Scioto County
Auditor’s Office, Engineer, and City on the commercial building inventory. Once this process is completed the Land Bank properties may be added to the map.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.