A KOZ designation provides an exemption for real estate taxes for a certain period of time, in this case 100 percent for 10 years. The idea behind a KOZ is that the tax break will spur development in economically depressed areas.
The borough approved an updated ordinance for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to consider on Monday.
Unlike the initial ordinance, the new one targets only eight properties totaling just under 2 acres.
After the state’s initial rejection, the McGinness family trust, which own 57.6 of the approximate 59 acres originally targeted for KOZ designation, decided to no longer participate.
Peg Knoll and Jim McGinness, trustees for the McGinness estate, explained their decision in a written statement to LNP.
“Unfortunately, the McGinness trustees were presented documents from the borough to review and to sign for the KOZ which were inaccurate, incomplete and the timeline presented to us to submit was not accurate,” the trustees wrote.
“The trustees were notified and given two days to make a decision and sign documents, yet still without having the proper or corrected documents in hand to review,” they continued.
“This new time line was unacceptable to make an informed decision as Trustees to an Estate. While we saw value in the program, The McGinness Trust had no choice but to decline to participate in the KOZ program.”
Taxes for some of the McGinness properties would have increased under a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement because those parcels are currently receiving a tax break under the Clean and Green Program.
In denying the initial request, the state said all parcels involved need to have PILOT agreements in place prior to it approving the KOZ, according to borough manager Rebecca Denlinger.
A handful of the properties were removed from the proposal because they are currently occupied, which excludes them from the KOZ designation.
“There is still real significant projects that are important to the redevelopment of downtown Columbia,” Denlinger said. “While disappointed, we still have eight parcels with great development potential.”
The school board will hear a presentation on the new ordinance Thursday, and county commissioners are scheduled to vote on it Dec. 19. Both entities must approve the ordinance as well.
Keith Combs, president of the school board, did not say whether the board would hold a vote on Thursday.
Originally Published on December 17, 2018 at 06:26AM
Article published originally via “opportunity zone” – Google News https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/proposed-columbia-borough-koz-shrinks-as-officials-continue-to-seek/article_7b04f9f4-fd90-11e8-a0c6-1fb8fbca9cd0.html