Nelson Township CRA - September 2017


Township Trustee’s (Mike Elias) Position:

It is my opinion that a new Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) will not have a positive financial impact on Nelson Township and cannot fairly be designed to help all our citizens. Nelson Township has had in-place a 1984 CRA which has not been utilized (no new taxes) by the available land owners - it needs to be repealed. A sitting trustee appears to be acting as an agent for one company that would benefit from a CRA.  In serving Nelson Township, it is my honor & responsibility to represent the best interest of all our citizens. It is inappropriate for a current trustee to attempt to put forth a self-serving agenda on a significant fiscal issue. When the Board of Trustees is put in a compromising position, I need to advise our citizens of my observations & concerns:


  1. The Nelson Township working budget is based on real estate taxes therefore until the below detailed questions are resolved and public input, the Board of Trustees cannot take any action(s) that will impact the township’s income.
  2. Nelson Township is a growing residential township and the citizens are very comfortable with the rural community atmosphere.
  3. Nelson Township’s limited industrial/commercial businesses are mature with little indication of new expansion.
  4. Nelson Township is not pursuing a new CRA for the general benefit of the citizens of Nelson but for one company.
  5. Nelson Township is not pursuing a new CRA to promote revitalization in depressed areas but as an incentive for one company that does not currently own any property.
  6. Nelson Township should not take any new or current significant fiscal actions without the input of our citizens via open hearings and/or a vote.  

My job (as trustee) is to understand the short and long term impact of the decisions of the Board of Trustees on the township budget that would impact the safety & quality of life in our community. Listed below are the hard questions that need to be resolved before the trustees can consider a CRA (see information below).


New Nelson Township CRA Questions:

  1. What geographic area would a new program cover and would it be a new CRA or an extension of the current program?
  2. At what level (%) would the tax abatement exemption levels for Real property; Personnel property and/or Inventory?
  3. At what level (%) would the tax abatement term exemptions for Residential Remodeling (minimum $); Residential New Construction (minimum $); Commercial & Industrial Remodeling (minimum $) and/or Commercial & Industrial New Construction (minimum $)?
  4. What is the process for applying for tax abatement?
  5. What Township official overseas the program? Who serves on the Tax Incentive Review Council to review applications submitted by the Township Officer, to negotiate abatements with business projects, and to review performance on all agreements? Does the Township need to add staff/costs?
  6. Will there be a need for public hearing to review the details of the proposed CRA prior to a trustee’s vote to recommend a “direct tax incentive” to the Portage County Commissioners? Should the citizens be able to vote on a new CRA?

Current Nelson Township CRA Questions:

  1. What has been the positive economic impact of the current 1984 CRA – new construction, new jobs, new tax dollars, etc.?
  2. Has any organization(s) applied for tax abatement?
  3. Should the trustees recommend repealing current 1984 CRA?


What is a CRA?

A Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) is an area of land designated by a local government on which property owners can receive tax incentives for constructing new or renovating existing buildings. The CRA Program permits municipalities, townships, or counties to designate areas where investment has been lagging to encourage revitalization of the existing housing stock and the development of new structures. Residential, commercial, and industrial projects are all eligible. The program is similar to the Enterprise Zone program in that it incentivizes investment by allowing for property tax abatements, but that is where the similarities end.


What is the purpose of the program?

Ohio's Community Reinvestment Area Program was created in 1977 and revised in 1994 in sections 3735.65-70 of the Ohio Revised Code, to promote revitalization in depressed areas by offering property tax exemptions for any increased property valuation that would result from renovation of existing structures or new construction activities within the area. The program can be used to encourage historic preservation, residential rehabilitation, or new residential construction and/or as an economic development tool to encourage commercial and industrial renovation or expansion and new construction.

How is a CRA established?

To get started, a municipality, township, or county must determine that they have an area in need of revitalization; they can then decide what the boundaries of the CRA will be. The local government determines the need for a CRA based on the number and extent of properties in disrepair. Once they make the decision to establish a CRA, they will then decide the size, number of areas, and the term and extent of the real property exemptions.


How is the program administered?

The local government appoints a Housing Officer to oversee the program. The Housing Officer is often a current employee who is accustomed to working with the public. The Officer could be the City or County Engineer, the Regional Planning Commission Director, or the Community or Economic Development Director. The Housing Officer's role is to serve as the program contact, meet with property owners, and review and submit their applications for certification to the County Auditor.

The local government must also create the Tax Incentive Review Council to review applications submitted by the Housing Officer, to negotiate abatements with business projects, and to review performance on all agreements. Council members are appointed by the local government to include persons from a construction, real estate, or community development background who appreciate the need for revitalization.

Nelson Township Community House

August 2017


Thank you for visiting I am Mike Elias and I am running for re-election as Nelson Township Trustee. Over the next three months I will review some key issues that the township will need work on solving in the next four years. I know that I have the experience and knowledge to work with our community to make Nelson Township a better, safe place to live.

Today, I would like to talk with you about the Nelson Township Community House. This building is one of the key land marks of Nelson Township and needs to be preserved.

It was built in the 1850s as a Private High school – Nelson Academy. In 1914, the trustees purchased the building for $1,200.00. The Community House became part of the Nelson school system and was used as a school auditorium. There was a trustee’s meeting room as well as an upstairs dining room & kitchen.

Over the years the building has evolved into a government meeting location, a local polling place, & social event venue. The building has had a face lift, new roof & a new heating and air-conditioning system. But the interior needs some TLC. The kitchen & bathrooms need a complete remodeling. The interior walls, floors & ceilings will need refurbishing.

As with all local governments, Nelson Township Trustee’s need to optimize the limited finances & reallocate the budget from rising health care & proposed tax abatements to funding the very special project.  If re-elected, I will work hard to develop a comprehensive long term plan to make this key landmark a safe, better venue for the future.

Thank You,



Who is Mike Elias?


  • Resident & Community Improvement Activist in Nelson Township  for 17 years
  • USAF Veteran
  • Successful Small Business Owner
  • Founder of the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard
  • Founder of the Nelson Garrettsville Senior Social Club
  • Co-Chairperson of the Nelson Veterans Memorial Development Committee
  • Developed citizen’s information website


  • Served this community for nearly four years as Your Trustee with the focus of fiscal responsibility of your budget
  • Restructure the Nelson Township Service Department to better serve the needs of our community
  • Accomplished securing a new safe & reliable one ton truck to better serve the needs of our community
  • Support the installation of a new Diesel Fuel Tank
  • Community EMS Trustee
  • Co-Chair Nelson Veterans Memorial Development Committee
  • Co-Chair Annual Memorial Day Services
  • Manager of the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard

     . Fiscal Responsibility by Rejecting The Opportunity          For Township Funded Medical Health Care For Me &          My Family

Future Township Needs

  • Fiscal Management of the Township Budget
  • Completion of the Nelson Township Veterans Memorial
  • Long Term Restoration of the Community House
  • New Snow Plow Truck


Today’s Concerns

  • Limited Fiscal Resources
  • Rising Health Insurance Costs
  • Overall road maintenance with increased traffic burden
  • Increased Drug Use
  • The concentrated insect population with the large number aging tires at the Ledges Raceway
  • Unilateral actions of a trustee*


  • Nelson Township Board of Trustees consists of three members with equal powers & responsibilities. It is inappropriate for one trustee to unilaterally represent the interest and/or make decisions for the Nelson Township Board of Trustees. It is inappropriate for one trustee to act as an agent for a private organization(s) when dealing with township issues.





November 7th

"I'm only asking for your vote, Not for you to pay for my health insurance"

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