South Fayette takes another look at tax-abatement plan |

South Fayette takes another look at tax-abatement plan

This is a 2009 map of the businesses in South Fayette that had either applied for or been accepted for a LERTA. Township and school district officials are looking to update their plan.

As the rate of growth continues in South Fayette, the township and school board officials are revisiting an 11-year-old tax ordinance.

The Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, introduced to South Fayette in 2003, is a tax abatement program in designated areas allowing a tax-free period to new and growing businesses to encourage economic development and community growth. Under the plan, a business pays no taxes in its first year and gradually pays a full tax bill over five years.

A special joint meeting between the township and school board was held Nov. 6 in the district’s administrative building.

“The intent is to reintroduce the concept, look at it and begin dialogue related specifically to the LERTA program. Are we happy where it’s at? Are we trying to keep it the same? Make changes? Should it go away?” said Ryan Eggleston, township manager.

In the past year, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh opened an outpatient center in front of the former Star City Cinemas site. Across Route 50, EQA Landmark Communities’ Newbury $450 million development is being constructed and will include retail, office space and a hotel. Developer Dale Greco is building the Crossings at South Fayette near the interchange with a planned Aldi grocery store, Starbucks and other retailers.

More discussions are expected to take place in the coming months before deciding whether to make changes to the current ordinance, which was last revised in 2007, Eggleston said.

“The purpose of (the meeting) was to hopefully, at the very beginning phases, start some joint dialogue related to the LERTA program,” said Peggy Patterson, township administrative assistant. “It’s a different time, a different day so I think it is a good time to review this program.”

The school board has requested additional materials from the township regarding the ordinance’s history and results before scheduling another meeting.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or [email protected].

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