Center officials approve LERTA program | News, Sports, Jobs

BELLEFONTE — The borough of Bellefonte is three for three.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Center County Board of Commissioners, the final piece of the LERTA puzzle passed unanimously. The LERTA program assists with the redevelopment of aging or deteriorating properties. In Bellefonte, the hope is that LERTA will help move the Bellefonte Waterfront project forward.

Before the vote, Bellefonte Borough Director Ralph Stewart took a final step for LERTA.

“The academy and the district have already passed the LERTA”, Stewart said matter-of-factly.

And with that, the commissioners – Steve Dershem, Mark Higgins and Michael Pipe – voted in favor of LERTA.

LERTA stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance. LERTA programs are optional programs authorized by the Pennsylvania State Legislature for the purpose of encouraging economic development. Typically, a LERTA district is created by a municipality. The program allows for the abatement of new increased assessed taxes associated with an improvement over a scheduled period of time. Basic taxes are paid throughout the program.

Bellefonte has chosen a 10-year calendar with a 100% reduction in the first year, then the reduction is reduced by 10% each year thereafter. After year 10, the allowance ends. Thus, the second year, the owner pays 10% of the increase in assessed value. This percentage increases by 10% each year until year 10 when the owner pays 100% of the assessed tax increase.

This LERTA will impact the long-awaited project on the vacant property of the former Bush House. Land was not thrown on the Bellefonte Waterfront project.

In other cases on Tuesday, the commissioners:

– Issued Proclamation No. 20 of 2022, proclaiming May 15-21, 2022 National Police Week and May 18, 2022 Peace Officers Memorial Day in Center County.

– Issued Proclamation No. 21 of 2022, proclaiming June 4, 2022 as National Trails Day in Center County.

— Approved a lease renewal for the Center Hall Senior Center inside the Center Hall Fire Company. The lease total is $13,500 for the period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. The item was moved to next week’s consent agenda.

— Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the final land development plan for the Andrew G. Kotzur-M&D Storage Phase 2 land; CCPCDO File No. 149-21. This proposal represents the second phase of M&D Storage showing three proposed self-storage buildings and stormwater management upgrades to accommodate additional improvements. This proposal is located along the northern limit of West Sycamore Road (state Route 0144) and the western limit of West Nectarine Street, approximately 350 feet west of the municipal boundary with Snow Shoe Borough, located in the township by Snow Shoe. The item was moved to next week’s consent agenda.

– Approved a contract with Service Access and Management, INC. (SAM) to serve as a financial consultant to review policies and procedures, segregation of duties, distribution of workload between tax departments/programs, and assessment of current contracting procedures. The contract total is $28,000 with funding as follows: State: ($20,800) and County ($5,200) for the period May 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

The Center County Board of Commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24. The meeting is open to the public and will also be televised live by C-NET.

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