LERTA and Our Taxes

LERTA gives developers a 100% tax rebate, and this year, in 2017 residents’ tax rates went up by 5%.

What is LERTA and why was it started?  LERTA is an acronym which stands for: Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance.  It was established in 2010 and will expire in 2020 unless there is an act of Borough Council, the School Board and the County to terminate the program.

Why would we want to terminate it?  Our borough is overdeveloped and our roads are overcrowded.  There are three new projects making their way through the planning approval process.  There is one undeveloped property which is within the LERTA zone that is left.  The owners have two years left for the to develop the land and receive tax abatement.

LERTA programs can help towns.  In Phoenixville it seems that this program did incentivized companies to come here instead of to our neighbors.  That’s what it’s meant to do.  Towns that are struggling to get out of an economic rut give companies tax abatement (0% tax the first year, then 10% year two, 20% year three, etc until they’re 100%).  So if your town is struggling, it can help bring in businesses and -hopefully- long-term revenue.  Phoenixville was struggling, now it is booming.  LERTA has served its purpose and at this point it will only serve to further overcrowd our town.

What is happening  here now is that -since we are booming- this program gives property developers and property managers a 100% tax rebate.  Then, this year, in 2017, every residents’ tax rates went up by 5%.

We pay higher taxes, developers pay no taxes, then barely any taxes.

I believe LERTA needs to be eliminated.  There are sites within the LERTA Zone which could be used to add over 500 more luxury apartments, and further overdevelop the borough.

It is important to understand that LERTA is not just an ordinance that the Borough itself can terminate.  Adoption involved the Phoenixville School Board and Chester County, as well.   If we want this overdevelopment to end, then we must pursue action at the Borough, School Board and County levels simultaneously.