Continually ranked among the Top 10 Micropolitan cities in the nation, Wooster offers a world-class assortment of tools to assist our firms with growing their business. Our office, as well as our economic development partners, are available to provide local economic and market data. For Wooster firms seeking to expand their boundaries, or for prospective new businesses, the City offers Enterprise Zone and also Community Reinvestment Area incentives to aid in real estate development. Wooster also offers a Job Creation Tax Credit. Discover the opportunity Wooster offers for growing businesses.
Community Partnership & Permitting
Sometimes referred to as Public-Private Partnership or Business Incentives, the City of Wooster has instituted several specialized programs to help businesses finance their start-ups and expansions in Wooster. Generally, projects must create basic-sector jobs (producing goods for a national or global market), or reinvest within the City's historic and downtown neighborhoods. Most projects also receive supporting assistance from JobsOhio, the State of Ohio's economic development agency. Our local programs include:
On-the-Job Training: Offers up to $8,000 per qualified new low-income hire to reimburse the employer for training expenses, including wages. Offered through our Wayne County OhioMeansJobs Center (part of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services), this program has been immensely helpful to many of Wooster’s large employers. The firm registers its business with Wayne County OhioMeansJobs, recruits new employees, and enrolls approved employees prior to training. To qualify, new employees must be from households at or below 200% poverty. Generally, this includes individuals previously earning $26,000 or less, or $52,739 for a household of four, or approximately 40% of all Wooster households.
Incumbent Worker Training: Available to employers training existing employees (regardless of income) on new skills, equipment, technology, or processes, the IWT program funds a portion of the direct cost of training. (Examples include funding the cost of hiring a career center to credential hires on a new equipment line.) The program aids companies investing in training to adopt new skills to enhance their Ohio-based operations’ industrial competitiveness. Workers benefit through obtaining new skills, credentials, or promotions. Contact Wayne County OhioMeansJobs to learn more.
With a local income tax rate of 1.5%, among the lowest of similarly-sized Ohio communities, the City of Wooster provides a highly competitive tax environment allowing businesses the opportunity to maximize returns on investment through the long term. To help firms undertaking an investment in employment expansion, the City of Wooster offers a matching Local-Income Creation Tax Credit to companies that also receive a State of Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit. This frees up financial resources to be invested in new payroll. The Local Job Creation Tax Credit is an annual grant equal to a certain percent of the total amount of new income taxes from newly hired employees:
- Local Terms match State of Ohio Terms up to a maximum 50%.
- Companies must commit to creating 25 new jobs within a three-year period, and retaining their employment in the city two years for each year of incentive.
- This support is provided by invitation on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with JobsOhio.
- Applications require a State of Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit and a recommendation from The Wooster Growth Corporation.
- Please contact us to learn more.
The City of Wooster, in partnership with its top-rated Wooster City School District and Wayne County Schools Career Center, offers real estate tax exemption on the improved value resulting from a new construction or rehabilitation project:
- General Requirements:
- Reserved for firms creating a substantial number of new basic-sector jobs (serving a national or global market) and for firms creatively reinvesting in older buildings or sites within Wooster's Downtown and Historic Areas.
- Typical projects involve the creation of 75 to 150 new jobs with $5MM in new investment.
- Approved projects have ranged from as little as two employees for a small business that rehabilitated a downtown storefront to projects committing to 250 new hires.
- Tax exemption is discretionary and requires approval from Wooster City Council, the Wooster City School District*, the Wooster Growth Corporation*, and other independent local governments, along with the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Department of Development. This treatment is truly a community collaboration to invest and celebrate our entrepreneurs venturing to grow our economy.
- Companies are expected to maintain a membership with the Wayne Economic Development Council.
- Terms are negotiable and provided to support the individual needs of the project
- Maximum term of 10 years at 75% for major projects.
- Exceptionally creative projects reinvesting in downtown Wooster may be eligible up to a 100%, 12-year exemption.
- Projects must commit to 2 years of job performance for every 1 year of exemption.
- If approved, a $750 filing fee is levied by the State of Ohio. Companies receiving exemption must report annually on payroll, job, and investment numbers. The City of Wooster does not charge an annual fee.
- Learn More:
Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) supports new and expanding firms in establishing and upgrading public infrastructure. It is usually a company's responsibility to establish the new water and sewer lines or new roadway or intersection improvements it requires for its business site. TIF allows communities to partner with private companies in financing costs through redirecting future tax dollars to repay the infrastructure expenses. TIF essentially enables the creation of new public infrastructure to support business expansion. A unique inter-governmental resource, TIF requires the approval and partnership of the Wooster City Council, the Wooster City School District, the Wayne County Commissioners, and sometimes other local governments.
TIF is provided on a discretionary basis for exceptional and large projects resulting in sizeable employment expansion. TIF is not a retroactive tool per Ohio law and requires that firms coordinate projects with the City of Wooster well in advance. TIF has helped to provide significant cost-savings and greatly improve the ease of operations for Wooster companies. Please contact us to learn more.