U.S. Cold Storage’s request for tax relief was approved by the Quakertown School Board at its meeting Thursday night.
The Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) provides a ten-year descending tax abatement for U.S. Cold Storage at ITS new location in Richland Township.
LERTA will help offset the infrastructure costs U.S. Cold Storage is facing in the development of their property at 1050 Heller Road, on the corner of Heller Road and East Pumping Station Road.
The property has several problems that must be dealt with, including road improvements and unique site costs stemming from soil conditions, according to Jim Slamon, the vice-president and secretary of U.S. Cold Storage who represented the company at the school board meeting.
As part of the agreement, U.S. Cold Storage is making a $100,000 voluntary contribution to the Quakertown School District.
Despite these efforts, several members of the school board felt that the school board should have been welcomed in to the negotiations sooner to better represent their interests.
“I don’t want to detract from the $100,000 donation, but I think with the resources that U.S. Cold Storage has, I think we could have worked together for a little more favorable agreement,” said Bob Smith, the board president.
The negotiations also included the township and the county, who will have to vote on the LERTA agreement as well as the school district. The township will likely vote on November 11th and the county will likely vote on November 20th.
Thursday night’s vote at the school district board will enable the development of U.S. Cold Storage’s project, which will initially provide 100 jobs. Slamon noted that this job will likely be three phases long, though only this initial first phase is guaranteed, and that the project will bring in much more revenue than the property currently does.
“We will be paying $1.2 million in taxes,” Slamon said. “The property currently has an agriculture tax exemption so they only get maybe $300 for it a year. After the ten year LERTA period, we will be paying $260,000 a year in taxes.”