Pennex tax break in place

LISBON — A tax abatement agreement that is key to Pennex Aluminum Corp.’s planned $23 million expansion has received final approval.

County commissioners last week signed off on the enterprise zone agreement with Leetonia Leasing that grants a 15-year property tax abatement for the new 110,000-square-foot addition being constructed by Pennex at its complex in the Leetonia industrial park, which is owned by the county port authority.

Under the enterprise zone agreement negotiated between Pennex, the village of Leetonia and the Leetonia school board, the company will not have to pay any property taxes on the new addition to the village for 15 years. Leetonia will see an increase in revenue from the village income tax paid by the 41 new jobs that are to be created.

As for Leetonia schools, the parties agreed to a 75 percent tax abatement over the period, with Pennex paying property taxes to the school district based on 25 percent of the taxable value of the addition.

County Development Department Director Tad Herold pointed out only about $10-$11 million of the $23 million proposed expansion is tied to property and subject to the tax abatement agreement.

This is the third enterprise zone agreement entered into with Pennex since the company relocated from Mahoning County to the industrial park in 2002. The first 15-year agreement expired last year, and Herold said Pennex is now paying property taxes on the initial portion of the complex. The second agreement was reached in 2014, when Pennex embarked on a $33 million 170,000-square-foot expansion that resulted in the creation of 71 news job. The latest expansion is expected to push the total number of jobs beyond 200.

The port authority paved the way for the expansion by agreeing in September to sell Pennex 20 acres across the road from its complex. Pennex broke ground three days later.