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Parker offering tax breaks for home, business upgrades

The city of Parker will be offering tax breaks to property owners who upgrade their homes or businesses.

Participation as a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act community allows Parker to offer 10-year tax breaks for home improvements and 20 years of relief for work done on businesses.

Taxes are waived during the first year a property gets relief; 10 percent of the assessment increase caused by improvements is taxed each year in the remaining nine years of the program. So, in the final year of the tax break, the homeowner would be paying taxes on 90 percent of assessment increase caused by improvements. Business properties improved would follow the same formula using 5 percent increments over 20 years.

“We’re looking at ways to boost our region, so offering LERTA tax breaks was a no-brainer,” Mayor Bill McCall said. “There may be a lot of property owners who are looking to upgrade their properties, but are afraid to do it because it could dramatically affect their taxes. This should help ease those worries.”

The program only applies to taxes associated with the upgrades to properties. Property owners continue to pay taxes on the assessed value before improvements were made.

“It’s a nice way for local government to show they’re willing to invest in their communities,” Armstrong County Planning Director Rich Palilla said. “Typically, the early years are the toughest for new businesses and homeowners, especially if they need to pay for upgrades. So this is how a community lends them a hand.”

Parker is the latest of 13 LERTA communities in Armstrong County. Ford City, Ford Cliff, Kittanning Borough, Kittanning Township, Wayne and West Franklin offer the tax break for commercial and residential properties, while Apollo, Elderton, Freeport, Leechburg, Parks and South Buffalo offer the tax break only on commercial properties.

“It’s a win-win for the communities, because they’re not losing tax dollars on properties up front since property owners are still paying taxes,” Palilla said. “The idea is that they’ll eventually see a larger return by providing these tax breaks.”

McCall said officials hope the tax break encourages property owners to upgrade their properties throughout the city, especially in the Route 268 business corridor.

“There are a few dilapidated buildings that are boarded up downtown. We’re hoping this is enough to get people to start rehabilitating those places,” McCall said. “We see this as an opportunity to help revitalize our city.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].


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