City OKs Great Oaks agreement

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — City Council approved a compensation agreement with Great Oaks.

It was passed during a special meeting Wednesday morning, along with two other ordinances from the finance committee. The three received first readings during the regular council meeting on Dec. 7 but weren’t passed due to the absence of two council members. During the special meeting, all but At-Large member Bill Liermann were present.

The ordinance approved a “Great Oaks compensation agreement and authorizing its execution and delivery” to Great Oaks Career Campuses “together with the initial TIF compensation payment thereunder.” The ordinance needed to be read and approved by Dec. 15.

The way the TIF works, according to Auditor David Hollingsworth at the previous meeting, is that the city gets the real estate tax on the assessed value of the JUMP hangar at the Wilmington Air Park. The money is used to pay back the state for money loaned to the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) to build the hangar.

“ATSG’s commitment was they guaranteed they would have at least 259 full-time employees by I think it was October 2017,” said Hollingsworth. “The income tax dollars on that, the schools are giving up their portion of the real estate tax they would normally collect.”

The schools get a small portion of it, but to make up for what they’re losing in the agreement they would get a third of the income tax dollars collected on those employees. Hollingsworth said that it’s more than they would’ve gotten had they just collected their normal real estate tax.

“It doesn’t make the city of Wilmington whole, but a third going to the joint vocational school makes them more than whole,” said Hollingworth.

After both sides discussed with legal counsels, it was decided to make Great Oaks whole by paying them what they normally would’ve received collecting their shares of the real estate tax.

The other two ordinances passed were for making supplemental appropriations and miscellaneous transfers. The only ordinance not passed was for the 2018 budget. The final reading for it will take place during the regul1ar council meeting on Dec. 21.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574