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County Council Set To Vote On Proposed Tax Abatement Tonight

September 11, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Council will vote on a requested tax abatement for a proposed commercial development project in Hanover Twp. tonight. Northpoint Development, the Missouri-based firm that built the chewy.com warehouse in Hanover Twp., wants to develop more commercial buildings on a 150-acre tract between the Sans Souci Parkway and South Main Street. The company has asked the county, Hanover Twp. and Hanover Area School District to defer tax revenue on new buildings constructed on the parcel for 10 years. The deferment, through the state’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, would not apply to the land or existing structures. The three taxing bodies approved similar requests from NorthPoint for the commercial complex that includes chewy.com, as well as a planned NorthPoint commercial project on a tract that stretches from Hanover Twp. into Nanticoke. Council members were divided over the merits of the tax abatement at a work session last month. Jane Walsh Waitkus and Robert Schnee spoke in favor, with Schnee saying he “would support anything NorthPoint does.” Stephen A. Urban opposed the plan, noting the county must rely on property tax revenue, unlike other taxing bodies that receive income tax revenue. Harry Haas said he wanted terms more favorable to the county. Haas put those thoughts into action, in the form of an amended tax abatement schedule council will consider tonight. The resolution that authorizes the tax exemption calls for 100 percent tax abatement for the first seven years, followed by 90 percent abatement in year eight, 80 percent abatement in year nine and 70 percent abatement in year 10. Haas calls for 30 percent abatement in years one through three, 20 percent abatement in year four and 10 percent abatement in years five through 10. Haas on Monday said he thinks the last two NorthPoint tax abatement agreements could have been negotiated better for the sake of county taxpayers. “I hope that with some healthy debate we can get a better deal,” he said. Tonight’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse, 200 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre. Contact the writer: emark@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2117

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