LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Palmyra Area School District (PASD) will not approve a proposed 10-year-long Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) tax abatement, Superintendent Dr. Bernie Kepler confirmed in a phone call with abc27 on Wednesday afternoon.

The Lebanon County Commissioners and the Palmyra Borough Council recently approved the tax abatement for the construction of luxury apartments that will be located at 101 N. Harrison St. in Palmyra Borough.

During the Palmyra Area school board meeting on Aug. 25, two Palmyra Borough Council members, vice president Tom Miller and Council member Anthony M. Catalani II, expressed avid support of the tax abatement.

Since this meeting, PASD’s board has not taken a vote to approve or disapprove this tax abatement — according to Superintendent Dr. Bernie Kepler, the vote on the tax abatement never made it out of committee for an official vote.

The two main reasons that were given for the lack of support for the LERTA tax abatement were:

  1. Allowing a tax break for the construction of luxury apartments would not be fair to the many small businesses around Palmyra that do pay their fair share of property taxes.
  2. The cost of the 10-year abatement would exceed the revenue needed to take in the possible new students.

According to Dr. Kepler, the school district currently receives about $2,400 per year through real estate tax revenue from the under utilized lot. Based on the estimated value of the proposed project, the total tax revenue collected annually would be approximately $156,000 – PASD’s portion of that tax revenue would be approximately $112,000.

This potential tax revenue increase from $2,400 to $112,000 annually would only occur after the proposed 10 year LERTA tax abatement.

Dr. Kepler went on to explain that If 12 students were to reside in these 31 – two bedroom units; educating the students at approximately $10,000/year, the district’s increased revenue for the project is exceeded. This would mean that the cost required for educating these new students would outweigh the revenue that would be generated.