Supervisors Show Support For Tax Abatement Program

The Pike County Dispatch By Ken Baumel, Thursday, March 21, 2013
SHOHOLA — Last Thursday night, Shohola Township became the first Pike County local-government body to enact the tax-abatement for businesses seeking to site or expand in the community. Township supervisors passed Ordinance 75, which authorized the abatement, at the regular township meeting held last week at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Supervisors took action after the township Planning Commission advised approving the ordinance to cover the entire township, not just the two business districts. Supervisors could have selected any part of the township or the entire township, according to Pike County Economic Development Authority Director Mike Sullivan, who requested supervisors adopt the ordinance. The ordinance supports state legislation enabling Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA). Sullivan, who had spoken at two previous Shohola regular meetings, asked supervisors to support his proposal for a five-year tax abatement, an incentive for companies that provide jobs to sites in Shohola. New York State and New Jersey provide up to 20-year incentives to companies seeking to relocate there. Sullivan said that EDA is competing with New York and New Jersey. He is proposing a five-year abatement proposal be adopted or supported by every taxing entity in Pike. According to Sullivan, his five-year abatement plan gives a company a more attractive tax break than the 20-year plan. In answer to a previous question from Shohola supervisors, if Shohola adopts the abatement, Shohola would lose no tax revenue on existing business property.A business owner can benefit from the abatement only on improved property, not on an existing facility that is already taxed. Sullivan said on Monday that he had already spoken to a Shohola business owner who is interested in expanding their plant to another location in Shohola. The tax abatement is attractive enough that the employer plans to stay in Shohola rather than go to New York State. Sullivan said that another company is now interested in siting in Pike (not in Shohola). He said that he is very optimistic that with Shohola on board, other Pike government bodies would follow suit. Sullivan said, “My intent is to get full support from Pike County commissioners, the three school districts, and all 13 municipalities to support the abatement. “I think that getting municipal support is most important. However, the county and school districts could opt out even if municipalities opt in. The school tax is about 60 percent of the total tax. So, if a school district opts out, it would make it less appealing for a business to site in Pike… for complete story, get this week’s issue