Upgrades to come with racino tax plan

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Tax Increment Financing agreement has been reached between Mahoning County and Penn National Gaming for the new racino being built in Austintown.

The agreement will use 50 percent of the racino’s property taxes for infrastructure improvements along the Meridian Road corridor. The announcement was made Friday at the Mahoning County Commissioners meeting.

About $6.5 million will be generated from the TIF. With the potential for matching dollars from the state, that dollar amount could grow to $30 million. The majority of the money will be used for sewer improvements, but some could be used to develop the rest of the corridor.

“This opens up a new opportunity in Mahoning County to do things creatively and try and be proactive instead of being reactive as far as infrastructure of our county,” said Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler.

Alex Stolyar with Penn National Gaming said the agreement is a key part of the racino’s success.

“It’s huge. Good access and traffic flow and everything and you know sewer is important to service the facility. All of those are critical here,” said Stolyar.

In addition, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino said at the meeting the county will reserve about 60 percent of racino tax revenue to increase general cash carryover funds.

“Any new money that we would not have otherwise planned or budgeted for will be tucked away and put into a protective stabilization fund so it builds over the course of years,” said Sciortino.

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racecourse is expected to open next year.

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