Shohola To Hold Hearing On Tax-Abatement Law

By Ken Baumel, Pike County Dispatch, December 20, 2012
SHOHOLA — Township supervisors approved advertising for a public hearing for a proposed local tax-abatement law. The law would give Shohola a fighting chance to compete for businesses (seeking to site in the Tri-state area and specifically in Shohola) by giving such companies a tax break.
Supervisors approved advertising the hearing scheduled at a regular township meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. Supervisors took action at their regular meeting last week held at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Township Solicitor Jason Ohliger explained that Pennsylvania enabling legislation for abatement is covered in the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA).
Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director Mike Sullivan, at the previous regular township meeting in November, proposed Shohola approve implementing an abatement. Ohliger said that EDA’s proposal is justified under LERTA legislation because of Shohola’s high unemployment, over 9 percent, among the highest in Pennsylvania. LERTA standards include communities with high unemployment. The question facing Shohola supervisors is whether to include the whole town as a LERTA zone or to narrow the zone down to Route 6 and Route 434 commercial zones, the most active commercial zones. Ohliger noted that a few other areas zoned for commercial development, such as near Walker Lake on Twin Lakes Road could also be included. Ohliger advised that after advertising the hearing, supervisors should ask the township Planning Commission to review, prior to the hearing, the EDA proposal. The commission would then recommend whether the whole township or specific commercial corridors should be included. Supervisors approved referring LERTA to the Planning Commission.
At the previous meeting, Sullivan said that the township needs to provide five-year tax abatement as an incentive for companies that provide jobs to site in Shohola. He noted that New York State and New Jersey provide up to 20-year incentives. If adopted, Shohola should lose no tax revenue on existing business property. Only the improved areas of a facility would get abatement… for complete story, get this week’s issue.