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Quakertown Borough Council set to vote on electric program to benefit new industries

By Lou Gombocz, Jr., WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:37:03 PM CST
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 03:40:54 PM CDT
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -

Quakertown Borough Council is hoping cut-rate electricity will spark new business development. 

During its monthly work session Monday night, council reviewed a proposal to attract new industrial-sized businesses by offering significant discounts to the demand charges on a business owner’s electric bill. Council is expected to vote on the proposal next month.

"This program is all positive... there are no negatives here," said borough Manager Scott McElree, referring to the incentive for building developers to have their industrial clients move to Quakertown to take advantage of discounts.

Those discounts can be as high as 75 percent off demand billings for up to five years when an employer creates 10 to 39 jobs and up to 10 years of 75 percent off savings when 40 or more jobs are realized.

McElree said the entire program, when approved by borough council, will target what the borough currently has more of -- underutilized buildings developed into rented offices and business/manufacturing centers offering much-needed jobs.

"It's a good process and a good program," added L. James Roberts, president of the borough council.

In other business, council reviewed the results of a Broad Street traffic study conducted by Traffic Planning And Design Inc. of the Lehigh Valley, which proposes turning the current eastbound portion of Broad Street from Fourth through Branch Streets into a two-way thoroughfare in order to alleviate increased rush hour congestion and eliminate merging points.

Council agreed to vote at its Nov. 6 meeting whether to proceed on Monday night's traffic recommendations.