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Company seeks tax abatement for expansion

To bring more jobs to the county, the Lycoming County Commissioners agreed that they would be on board to offer Jersey Shore a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) for a possible expansion. A final vote on the measure would take place at the beginning of next month after advertising the proposed action.

Speaking to the commissioners. Jason Fink, president/CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said that West Pharmaceutical Services is possibly seeking to expand their facility in Jersey Shore adding not only more space to the site, but also 125 to 150 jobs.

“We anticipate in addition to that an investment of somewhere between $65 to $70 million for the project and these would all be family-sustaining wages,” Fink told the commissioners.

Under LERTA, for the first two years after construction is completed, West would pay no real estate taxes on the addition, 25% for the next two years, 50% for years five and six and then 75% for year seven. After that, the property would be fully on the tax rolls.

The LERTA does not affect the current facility, only the proposed addition.

Fink noted that the company is planning to make a decision on where to expand their operations next month. They are also looking at a site in Kingston, North Carolina.

“We understand, and talking to them about LERTA is something that they would find helpful for them to be able to make the project work if they were to select it here,” Fink said.

“The governor’s action team has already been engaged and has presented to them their offer to be able to get the project here in Pennsylvania,” he added.

Fink has also spoken to the other governing bodies — the Jersey Shore Borough and Jersey Shore Area School District — about the proposal to use LERTA for the expansion. The school board will vote at their next meeting and the borough is set to vote on a resolution to utilize LERTA for the West project. Two out of the three must approve the proposal for LERTA to be used.

In other business, the commissioners approved three amendments to sub-recipient agreements pertaining to Community Development Block Grants including ones for: Muncy Library Project to remove architectural barriers; the Center for Independent Living; and for Montoursville Borough.

Other items approved were:

• Core Network Switch Support Renewal for downtown and Lysock core network switches.

• An amendment to an agreement with Highway Equipment and Supply Company for service work as needed at Resource Management Services.

• An agreement with Larson Design Group to engineer a drive-thru and parking lot at the East Third Street Plaza to maximize parking space.

• A subscription purchase with StreetLight Insight data at a cost of $20,000.

During the commissioners’ comments section of the meeting, Commissioner Tony Mussare expressed his concern that county businesses and residents will ask for reduction in their property taxes because of inflation costs.

“Why I am bringing this up is because people will stop spending. It’s going to be inevitable.It’s going to be very difficult,” Mussare said.

Also alarming, he said, is that if the business community seeks tax reductions then “that loss of revenue is going to go back into the hands and on the shoulders of our residents.”

“This is alarming and we need to have a plan,” he added.

The next meeting of the commissioners will be at 10 a.m. June 30 at the Commissioners’ Board Room, Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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