Williamsport school district OKs LERTA

By a unanimous vote, the Williamsport Area School District’s board voted to approve the district’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) resolution at their meeting Tuesday.

The board’s approval is the third necessary to advance the program, with the city and county the other two entities involved. Both already have approved their ordinances.

The resolution authorizes abatement of real estate taxes for the value of improvements to properties in three designated areas of the city. The abatement is on a seven-year schedule and abates taxes on the value of improvements, but not on the assessed value of the property prior to the improvements.

Taxes are reduced on a declining schedule with 100 percent of the tax abated the first two years after improvements are constructed, 75 percent in the third and fourth years, 50 percent in the fifth and sixth year and 25 percent in the seventh years. The resolution remains in effect through the end of 2022 unless repealed by the board before that.

“As a city, as a district, we face some headwinds, which are well-documented. Any tools that we can do to overcome those headwinds and build the relationships with local, regional and national developers will provide job opportunities and a range of services to our community,” said Jonathan Williamson, city council president, who was at the meeting with Jason Fink, executive vice-president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to the vote, Lori Baer, board president, told the men that what happens in the city ultimately affects the district.

“It’s not an easy decision to make. No matter how this comes out after we vote, the critical part we need to make sure our county commissioners know and understand is the importance of doing a countywide reassessment. We may not be having all these conversations. It is so vitally important for our district, for the city of Williamsport, not only the county, to have that done,” she said.

Reorganizational matters approved by the board were the re-election of Lori Baer as board president and Jane Penman as vice-president. They also approved various delegates to boards and committees.

Members present were: Baer, Penman, Brette Confair, Patrick Dixon, Jennifer Lake, Barbara Reeves, Marc Shefsky, Nancy Story Somers and Adam Welteroth.

The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 8 at the District Center, 2780 W. Fourth St.

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