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LERTA talks continue to evolve

Conversations on what a residential and commercial tax abatement program might look like in Warren County are shifting.

The LERTA — Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance — program would encourage development in the county by making improvements to eligible properties tax free for five years.

The proposal applies to both commercial and residential properties and gives a 100 percent abatement on taxes that would be levied on any improvements. The original property taxes would not change. Taxes on new development would be levied after the five year period expire.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said that it is the “way of things” that everyone wants to “put two cents in” when “you actually do it.”

He noted that the municipalities involved now “want to tweak” the ordinances and noted that while Tidioute and Pine Grove have already approved ordinances, many are waiting until after the county’s public hearing, set for next Monday at noon.

Eggleston detailed that the “only major edits” are in Conewango Township where the supervisors there are proposing a change for commercial to two years, 100 percent on additions and no abatement for new commercial construction as well as two years for residential new construction and five years for additions and adjustments.”

He noted that the township has concerns about tax appeals.

What that will mean for the county’s ordinance is unclear.

Eggleston said he wants an ordinance that mirrors what the municipalities are doing.

“They answer to their township residents,” he said, noting that he believes the program is “going to be on schedule,” though he noted next Monday’s public hearing could be canceled “in the next day or two to give them more time.”

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