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Published on May 29th, 2019 📆 | 5925 Views ⚑


Luzerne County government addressing cyber attack

Luzerne County will be cashing in on expiring tax breaks, manager says

When real estate tax breaks on a dozen commercial properties expire by the end of 2020, Luzerne County will receive more than half a million dollars in additional revenue annually, county Manager C. David Pedri told council Tuesday.

The total county gain will be $519,168 — $342,508 from breaks expiring on eight properties in 2019, and $176,660 from four returning to the tax rolls in 2020, his report said.

“That’s a major amount of money that the county will be receiving every single year,” Pedri said.

All 12 properties have breaks under the state’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, program, which provides up to 100 percent exemption for 10 years on new construction but not the land in deteriorated areas.

Pedri noted none of these properties have pending assessment challenges that could reduce the amount of taxes to be paid, although it’s possible the owners will exercise their right to file appeals.

According to Pedri’s report and other county records:

The break on one property — the Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate plant in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township — already expired at the end of March.

That means the structure assessed at $19.6 million has become taxable, generating $117,118 in additional revenue for the county under the current tax rate. The report did not tally additional receipts for the applicable school districts and municipalities.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Ambrosia US Newco LLC, which owns the Cargill property, already went through an assessment challenge because the Hazleton Area School District had filed a reverse appeal arguing the value was too low. Initially, the property was raised to an unusually high $65 million, but it was later reduced to $23 million for both the structure and land.

The owners of the other properties with LERTAs expiring between June and the end of this year, along with the property locations, assessed values of structures becoming taxable and amount of county tax revenue to be generated:

• Mericle 150 Centerpoint LLC, Armstrong Road, Jenkins Township, $2.09 million, $12,502.

This property, like others with the Mericle name, is affiliated with Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services.

• Mericle 275 Centerpoint East LLC, Jenkins Township, $6.36 million, $37,989.

• Mericle 195 Research Drive LLC, Research Drive, Jenkins Township, $3.45 million, $20,597.

• Shelburne Court Real Estate LLC, which is affiliated with Benco Dental Supply Co., 295 Centerpoint Blvd., Jenkins Township, $8.7 million, $52,081.

• Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, outpatient specialty center at 675 Baltimore Drive, Plains Township, $2.19 million, $13,083.

• Mericle 175 Centerpoint East LLC, Centerpoint Boulevard, Jenkins Township, $1.2 million, $7,167.

• 300 Enterprise Way LLC (also affiliated with Mericle), Enterprise Way, Pittston Township, $13.7 million, $81,971.

The four remaining properties expiring in 2020, according to his report:

• 660 Baltimore LLC (also affiliated with Mericle), 660 Baltimore Drive, Plains Township, $1.15 million, $6,889.

• Mericle 100 Capital LLC, Capital Road, Jenkins Township, $5.2 million, $31,629.

• Mericle 160 Research Drive LLC, 160 Research Drive, Jenkins Township, $12.1 million, $72,412.

• Exeter 545 Oak Hill LLC, 545 Oak Hill Rd., Wright Township, $11 million, $65,729.

Pedri said he will provide an update in June on the at least 58 Keystone Opportunity Zone, or KOZ, breaks still outstanding in the county.

In other business Tuesday, council agreed to accept $25,337, or half the delinquent taxes owed on the vacant former Penn Refrigeration property on Woodbury Street in Hanover Township, so it can be sold to Teos LLC.

Council also renewed the Luzerne County Community College’s lease for space in the county-owned Broad Street Business Center in downtown Hazleton.


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