Hudson to leave county anti-poaching pact

by Judy Stringer

Feb. 6 city council meeting

The city of Hudson will exit a Summit County anti-poaching agreement on Oct. 9, unless it can leave sooner.

As part of its consent agenda, Hudson City Council passed a resolution approving withdrawal from the Summit County Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding for Job Creation and Retention and Tax Revenue Sharing. The Oct. 9 exit reflects advance notice requirements set forth in the agreement.

Hudson could get out sooner, however, under a stipulation that permits signatories to leave the agreement immediately if they don’t agree with proposed changes. Amendments to the terms of the deal are currently being finalized.

Those changes are expected to include a higher annual threshold to trigger revenue sharing between participating communities. Under the existing terms, if a company with an annual payroll of $3.5 million relocates from Cuyahoga Falls, for example, to Hudson, Hudson would be required to share a portion of the new income tax resulting from that move for five years. This happens regardless of whether Hudson sought the business and/or offered it incentives.

Another proposed amendment is expected to take into account offices that may be consolidating or downsizing as part of a move between two communities. One example is a situation where more employees may be working from home, and the incoming business will not have as many employees based in Hudson, for example, as it had in Cuyahoga Falls. The county is considering new language that would review the threshold in both directions, not just by the payroll leaving the department community.

Yet, the changes under consideration were not enough to keep Hudson in the program. During a Nov. 28 workshop discussion on the issue, Ward 3 Council Member Skylar Sutton said he doesn’t see why Hudson “owes the other community anything” in cases where a business came to the city of its own volition and without any cajoling from Hudson.

He also took aim at the lack of “any claw back or exit mechanism” in the agreement. He and council President Chris Foster highlighted Diebold Nixdorf’s 2021 move from Green to Hudson as an example in which a claw back provision is needed.

According to Foster, Diebold failed to vacate the Green property, “so therefore the Green facility did not become available for other income to backfill” and offset Hudson’s payments to Green.

In another case, the council members said, a Cuyahoga Falls company came to Hudson because its building was being demolished. Not only did Hudson not court that business, they explained, but there was no way to fill the vacancy and mollify Hudson’s obligation.

At the time, Foster astutely predicted, “I’m really sensing the council would rather just walk way from this [agreement.]”

Upcoming legislation

Council heard the second reading on five pieces of legislation, which are slated for a final vote on Feb. 20. Those measures include approval for the city to accept bids on the construction of a new clubhouse at the Ellsworth Meadows Golf Course. The $1.8-million project includes a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse to be built off the 18th hole. The clubhouse will feature a kitchen, a pro shop, four covered hitting bays and a patio area. 

Amendments to City Manager Thom Sheridan’s contract are also up for a Feb. 20 vote. According to the resolution, the terms of the new agreement include a 3% cost of living adjustment plus a 5% increase to the base salary. An Akron Beacon Journal article said that Sheridan’s salary was $186,400 at the time of his hiring in October 2022.

Two other pending pieces of legislation involve zoning changes. One ordinance would restrict vape shops, pawnshops, tattoo parlors and marijuana dispensaries to the Outer Village Commercial and Darrowville Commercial corridors. The other ordinance would change the way permits are granted for temporary uses, such as construction staging areas.

Attorney fees

A resolution related to payment of attorney fees was passed on emergency, meaning the council waived its usual three readings. Council member Nicole Kowalski abstained from the vote, indicating that the $8,200 bill was related to a suit she filed against council following her December 2022 censure. ∞