PERRY TOWNSHIP, OH — Tuesday's passage of House Bill 6 had leaders of communities in the shadow of Perry Power Plant breathing a sigh of relief.
"As soon as the talks of possible closure at the plant began, you start looking into where those tax dollars are going," said Madison Village Administrator Dwayne Bailey. "And I think it would have been a terrible tragedy if that had actually happened and it would have killed this end of the county, I believe."
According to First Energy, which owns the nuclear power plant, Perry employs around 700 people and pays nearly $19 million in state and local taxes.
In Madison, Bailey estimates about 10% of the village's budget is tied to the plant through income taxes paid by workers who live there. If the plant had closed in 2021 like originally planned, he says the damage could have been crippling to the area.
"I think there would have been both cuts and a large number of levies to make up that difference going forward," said Bailey.
Instead, he says the village can now focus on growth in areas like tourism. One hotel recently opened and another is scheduled to start welcoming guests later this summer.
"The tourism industry is nice and we are certainly making efforts to participate in it more in Madison Village and the broader area, but it's not a staple like a plant that employs 700 people and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy," said Bailey.