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South Butler School District mulls tax break for manufacturer

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 1:41 a.m.

South Butler School District on Wednesday will consider whether to grant a 10-year tax abatement to an Allegheny County business interested in moving into the Victory Road Business Park in Clinton Township.

The business park is a Keystone Opportunity Zone, a designation established by the state to encourage business development through large tax breaks spread over the first 10 years at the site.

Ken Raybuck, executive director of the Butler County Community Development Corp., which owns the park, said it must get approval from all taxing bodies before submitting the request to the state by the Nov. 1 deadline.

The KOZ at Victory Road expires in 2017, so the new business would receive a five-year extension for a total of 10 years of tax abatement.

Raybuck didn't identify the business, but said it is a well-establish company that manufactures a part that operates locks and dams.

“It is very difficult for a business owner to make the decision to invest in a project,” Raybuck said. “This abatement is helping him make that decision.”

He estimated the taxes on the new business, which would be located on 8 acres, would total about $32,000 a year.

If the abatement isn't granted, Raybuck believes the business will stay where it is currently located.

The businesses that originally located to Victory Road when the KOZ was first established about 12 years ago received 10 years of tax breaks.

They have since begun paying taxes in full.

“I know 10 years seemed long the first time, but now we are reaping the benefit,” Raybuck said.

School board members Richard Sefton said he thinks it is in the board's best interest to approve the abatement.

“It could be a good thing for the district in the future,” he said. “(The business park) has really developed into a nice project.”

Aging scoreboard

The district's new marquee and stadium scoreboard are 95 percent paid for by donations that the school board will formally accept next week.

Six Butler County businesses donated a total of $86,000 and each will have advertising signage on the device for which they donated.

Raising money to replace the district's aging scoreboard and marquee was a project of the board's alternative revenue committee. Several district administrators also assisted in the outreach effort to local businesses.

School board president Nelda Burd said they were optimistic when they started looking for donors.

“We've seen other districts have that kind of success,” she said. “We were very pleased with the response.”

The total cost of the marquee, which will be located at the corner of Dinnerbell and Knoch roads, is $65,000, and the scoreboard costs $31,000.

The donors who helped buy the scoreboard will be recognized during halftime of the Oct. 19 Knoch High School football game. Donors for the marquee will be recognized on or around Nov. 1.

The donors are: Diehl Toyota Scion, $32,000; Concordia Lutheran Ministries, $30,000; and $6,000 each from John W. Thrower, Inc., Butler Health Systems, FastER Care, Armstrong Group and Dillon, McCandless, King Coulter & Graham.

The alternative revenue committee plans to continue fundraising for other district needs.

“Maybe the thing to do now is a building by building, program by program list of things we need or would like to have,” Burd said. “If people in the community see what their school district needs, I think they will step up.”

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

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