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County, city and school district to take tax hit from ShopVac closure

The closure of ShopVac is expected to impact the city and other taxing entities and a city councilman believes a strategy should be in place to combat these closures.

The global vacuum manufacturer announced its closure last week, leaving just over 300 employees without jobs. It normally pays $96,000 in real estate taxes, said Nicholas Grimes, city treasurer-tax collector.

The business pays $41,000 in property tax to the Williamsport Area School District; $39,000 in city tax and $16,000 to Lycoming County, he said. “These taxes are paid for 2020 and will continue to be assessed on that property (so a new owner would be responsible),” Grimes said.

The plant also was a source of the annual local services tax, which is $52-per-year for each employee, and earned income tax, Grimes said.

“If they all got a job elsewhere in the city it would have no impact on local services tax,” Grimes said.

Realistically, if a new industry would move into that space and employ a similar number of employees there would be relatively minor local tax impact, he said.

The closing of the plant is a reminder to a city councilman on the finance committee of how vital it is to maintain strategies for economic recovery.

“Shop Vac closing demonstrates the need to have a city wide economic development strategy that brings in new employers, grows our existing skilled labor force, and attracts new residents to the city,” said Councilman Adam Yoder.

Yoder said there was no reason not to execute a strategy that leverages Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming College assets and takes advantage of the demographic shifts across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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