Lawrence County Council votes to establish ERA in Heltonville in 4-2 vote

LAWRENCE COUNTY – The Lawrence County Council in a 4-2 vote, voted a resolution to establish an Economic Recovery Area in Heltonville during their meeting Thursday night. Council members Rick Butterfield and Jeff Lytton voted against the resolution.

Transitions Recovery center at the old Heltonville School

The resolution did not establish whether the ERA consideration would be the complete parcel or just the building of the former Heltonville School building which is now owned by Transitions.

Council Member Rick Butterfield requested twice to table the resolution because he felt there was no resolution in written form for the council members to review or to see visually what was being voted on.

Lawrence County Council Member Rick Butterfield

“At no time should a council member vote on something he or she has not seen, or heard about. Tonight there were no documents to know what we are voting on,” said Butterfield.

The former Heltonville School was purchased by Jerry Ford, who owns Transitions, to establish a drug rehabilitation facility. Since the facility is new and renovation is being done to the building, which will include 24/7 in-patient care, the property may be approved for future real estate tax abatement.

The former Heltonville School was purchased for the amount of $735,000 even though a recent appraisal of the facility places the assessed value at $2.9 Million.

Because the facility is new, a six-year abatement may be granted verses a ten-year tax abatement.

Transitions will return at a later time to look at getting a tax abatement from the Lawrence County Council. Scott Smith also serves on the tax abatement committee and had been reviewing Jerry Ford’s request prior to Thursday night’s Lawrence County Council meeting.