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Sharpsburg considers tax abatement

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sharpsburg officials are looking at a tax-abatement ordinance in Ben Avon as they consider a program of their own.

Council will forward the ordinance from Ben Avon to the borough solicitor for review and could use that community's policy to model its own.

Councilman Lou DeLuca said the abatement would encourage the cleanup of blighted properties in the borough.

“This would be a way to get, I suspect, some of our dilapidated properties rehabilitated,” DeLuca said.

Though the Ben Avon ordinance is only for a specific property, the Sharpsburg one would be boroughwide for properties that met a certain criteria.

“We don't want it street specific,” DeLuca said. “We want it to be a townwide ordinance.”

Councilman Matthew Rudzki said a tax abatement could encourage more people to do business in the borough.

“We need to find a way to spur development and growth in the community,” Rudzki said.

The abatement ordinance would cover only borough taxes.

Councilman Tony Sacco said the school board also would benefit if it decided to also offer a tax abatement.

“To get this property back on the tax rolls, it could definitely be an advantage to the school board and the county,” Sacco said.

While the school board could act separately in the future, that shouldn't stop the borough from taking action, Rudzki said.

“We shouldn't let the county and the school district interfere with what we're trying to do,” Rudzki said.

Though the Ben Avon ordinance has a 100-percent abatement the first year and then decreases by 10 percentage points for 10 years, that schedule could change to a shorter time frame for Sharpsburg.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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