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Warren County Commissioners Public Hearing

October 3, 2019 6:00:00 p.m.

Jackson Courtroom

 

Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin called the meeting of the Warren County Commissioners to order with Commissioner Jeff Eggleston present.

 

Staff Present: Pamela Matve, Chief Clerk, Solicitor Nathaniel Schmidt, Phil Gilbert

 

Citizens Present: Katie Miktuk (WTO), Joe Scully, Phil Gilbert, Irene Gorman, Jim Decker, Sherry Moore, Kelly VanCise, Arden Knapp, Fred Freeman, Tracie Gray, Julie French, Troy Clawson, and Ed Sekerak

 

Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin stated that the meeting is being recorded, and this evening we are here to discuss the Tax Relief and Redevelopment Act. He then turned the meeting over to Commissioner Jeff Eggleston.

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston started the Public Hearing by explaining that the Tax Abatement program covers two different acts; Improvement of Deteriorating Real Property or Areas Tax Exemption Act, and the Local Economic Revitalization and Tax Abatement Act.

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston stated that there are 11 municipalities that are coming on board with the program at this time: Conewango Twp., Glade Twp., Limestone Twp., Pleasant Twp., Pine Grove Twp., Watson Twp., Sheffield Twp., Elk Twp., City of Warren, Clarendon Borough, Tidioute Borough, and Youngsville Borough.

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston then stated that the Warren County Commissioners will place the ordinance on the agenda of the October 23rd meeting for a vote.

 

He then reviewed statistical data such as low to moderate income, housing occupancy rates (vacancies), and county wide statistics. He then stated that if you study all the numbers, you will see that this program is justified.

 

Joe Scully, Glade Township, stated that Glade Township is 100% for this program. It is the best program we can offer our residents. This will allow them five years to plan for higher taxes for the addition they have built on. Glade Township will have this on their agenda for a vote on October 16, 2019 and he believes it will pass. Joe Scully went on to state that we need to increase the lively hood in Warren County.

 

Tracie Gray, President of the Board of Realtors, stated that they are in favor of this program. It increases the tax base. She then reviewed the positives to the county. There will be no additional burden to the tax payers. Currently warren has 76 vacant lots up for sale. With this program someone could buy the land, and get a tax break for five years after they either build or put a mobile home on the lot.

 

Joe Scully stated we do not have a lot of young couples buying new homes, this program will allow them to buy an affordable home and add on to it. We have to get the young people to stay. Developers need a tax break to build here, and this a good way to do it.

 

Jim Decker, President of the WCCBI, stated that Tracie Gray gave a great presentation. I am here to support this program and he stated that the appreciates the Commissioners for bringing this to the public.

 

Arden Knapp, Pleasant Township, stated that Pleasant Township talked has talked extensively and we are 100% behind the program. We feel that this could remove some of the blight throughout the county.

 

Joe Scully stated that he agrees with Arden Knapp, there was a house at 220 Conewango Ave., and what is looks like now is a newly built home compared the blighted condition it was in when it was purchased.

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston thanked Traci Gray for her presentation. There is a concern that only eleven municipalities are coming on board, this is wonderful. This is also a big carrot for developers. Please advocate to the other municipalities and especially the School District to move forward with passing a resolution supporting this program.

 

Ed Sekarak, Columbus Township, asked about both Corry and Titusville School Districts, are they on board?

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston stated that many conversations have been had with the school districts, and all the municipalities.

 

Ed Sekarak stated that Corry should benefit from this. Why are the other municipalities not moving forward?

 

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston stated that Deerfield is the only solid No we have received. He has hit every township/borough meeting to talk about this program. My goal is to eventually get all the municipalities to come on board. Just because they are saying not right now, does not mean they cannot participate at another time.

 

Ed Sekarak asked why is Conewango not going the 5 years across the board as the others are doing. Commissioner Jeff Eggleston stated that they have had many tax appeals in their township. He is still trying to convince them to go the five years as it is a huge incentive for developers.

 

Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin stated that with nothing further we will close this public hearing.

 

Adjournment:  Motion was made by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, seconded by Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin to close the public hearing. Motion carried.

 

Public Hearing closed at 6:40 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,                                                                     Approved:

 

Pamela J. Matve                                                                  Jeff Eggleston, Secretary

Chief Clerk                                                                                           Warren County Commissioner