Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Some New Ideas on Tax Breaks

Photo by Evan Brandt
Pottstown Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana began the joint school board borough council meeting Tuesday with a shameless plug (which we are totally falling for) for The Wiz, Pottstown's first full-district musical in seven years, being staged on March 4, 5 and 6 at Pottstown High School.

Against all odds, the joint meeting of Pottstown Borough Council and Pottstown School Board Tuesday turned out to be fairly interesting and to contain one or two novel ideas.

Yes people, it can happen.

Hat's are off to school board member Polly Weand who, apparently after reading how some other communities have approached the LERTA tax break question, made some interesting suggestions.

For the uninitiated, LERTA stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance.

And the question of whether to enact one in Pottstown has been held up by the school board for months.

That log-jam seemed to break Tuesday when Weand suggested that in addition to giving people a sliding scale tax break on the assessed value of their property improvements over time, that they raise the stakes for those who commit to hiring local people.

She also suggested, and council and the school board ultimately agreed, to forming a joint committee to quickly (emphasis on quickly) come up with other incentives that might move Pottstown in the right direction and which could be written into the LERTA statute.

Ideas include a "threshold investment" to qualify, shortening the length of time the tax abatement is in place and breaks for residential properties that are purchased or occupied by teachers and first-responders.

The committee of four was appointed and hopes to finish its suggestions in as little as two month's time.

Also discussed were the Pottstown In Focus film festival, the tourism and recreation district, Pottstown's sustainability plan and plans to teach school children more walking and biking safety.

Without further ado, here are the Tweets and links:

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