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Blooming Grove approves tax incentives; Breaks for new and expanding businesses

By Kevin Kearney
June 12, 2013

Township supervisors have unanimously approved a five-year tax-abatement program they hope will attract businesses and assist current ones.

“I think for continued growth we need to do something to attract and enhance businesses,” chairman Randy Schmalzle said at a May 20 public hearing regarding the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA).

Vice chairwoman Helen Ann Yale added that she hopes the program will attract the right types of businesses.

LERTA allows new or existing businesses to receive tax abatements for capital improvements or expansion. The businesses would receive a 90% tax abatement on any improvements made in the first year; an 80% tax reduction on improvements in the second year; 60% in the third year; 40% in the fourth year; and 20% in the final year. By the sixth year the township would receive full tax on the assessed value of the property in question.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for businesses to come into the community and create jobs,” Schmalzle said.

Supervisor Nicholas Mazza added, “It would also be another tool to help existing businesses.”

The next step is for the township to submit the ordinance to the Pike County Commissioners and Wallenpaupack Area School District for their approval. The commissioners favor the initiative.

“We commend Blooming Grove for going forward with it,” said Commissioner Matt Osterberg, who attended the hearing with fellow commissioner Karl Wagner. “We will [approve] it as soon as we can. It’s a great tool.”

Pike County Economic Development Authority Board Chairwoman Kathy Hummel said the township has nothing to lose by participating in the program. “It’s a win-win,” she told the supervisors.

Blooming Grove is the second municipality in the county to approve the program, following Shohola Township.

Schmalzle, who noted that LERTA has been in existence since 1977, said he had attended several meetings and believes the program is conservative compared to other tax incentive programs that can span 20 years.

In other business, the supervisors approved of a $500 donation to go to Pike County Advanced Life Support, the township’s primary ambulance provider.

Schmalzle also thanked the community for its support of a spaghetti dinner that raised about $3,000 for a local family in need.