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Greencastle looks to create local tax assistance effort

September 04, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — The Greencastle Borough Council is taking a page from Antrim Township’s book by considering creating a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program to breath new life into deteriorating properties in the borough.

The program provides incentives for owners of eligible commercial properties to undertake improvements by easing the usual burden of increased taxes that come with an improved property and higher tax assessment.

In response to a letter from Joel Fridgen, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, who requested certain properties be designated as part of LERTA, council president Charles Eckstine said he supports the idea.

“We need to invest a little with the property owner and over time we’ll get our money back,” Eckstine said.

He suggested several properties for consideration including the former bank property on North Carlisle Street and the former Keystone Ford dealership in Greencastle.

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“I think this is something that we should take seriously,” Eckstine said.

The other six council members agreed with Eckstine.

Only properties in commercial and industrial zoning would be eligible for LERTA designation.

Over time the community suffers when a property deteriorates, Eckstine said.

“I think as a governing body we need to motivate property owners,” he said.

Council will vote on the LERTA designation at its next meeting.

In other action, the council approved distributing a $28,000 grant from Comcast. The money is part of the 12-year agreement between Comcast and the borough.

The grant is to be used for governmental or educational functions.

The Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library Capital Campaign will receive $8,000 this year and $8,000 in 2013; GA-MAAX will receive $5,000 this year; Jerome King Playground Association will receive $5,000 this year and Old Home Week 2013 will receive $2,000 of the $28,000 Comcast grant.

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