Ayr Nixes KOZ Extension In Business Park
Ayr Township supervisors said "no" to a request for an extension of the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) for the Fulton County Business Park during their regular meeting Monday evening. Their decision essentially nullifies a decision formerly made by both the county and the Central Fulton School District to grant the extension. All three taxing bodies must approve the extension in order for it to be granted.
According to county planner Mary K. Seville, the Fulton Industrial Development Association (FIDA) was requesting that the business park's KOZ, which is set to expire on December 31, 2010, be extended for an additional seven years to December 31, 2017. The KOZ program in Pennsylvania began in 1999 as a 10-year business incentive program that eliminated specific state and local taxes within specific underdeveloped and underutilized areas to assist the areas with economic growth and investment. It was designed to lead to the creation of new jobs and to produce capital investment in real estate. In 2008, Governor Rendell signed legislation allowing for the extension of the KOZs. Under the new law, KOZ status on unoccupied parcels on all current zones may be extended for seven years from the expiration date of the zones; if companies occupy a parcel before December 31, 2015, they may receive KOZ benefits for 10 years.
The three Ayr supervisors unanimously voted no to the extension. Although Ayr does not levy any property taxes, supervisor Chairman Marlin "Sonny" Harr said, "This KOZ was in place during the prosperous years and didn't attract any new business to the area, so why would we think that any businesses would take advantage of it in this economy?" He went on to say that he does not believe that the township taxpayers should be expected to continue to subsidize the business park.
Both the county and the local school district previously approved the KOZ extension to expire December 31, 2017. Had the township approved it, it would have allowed for any vacant, undeveloped lots in the park to take advantage of the state and local tax breaks on locating a nonretail business in the park. The extension would not have applied to existing businesses within the park whose tax incentives will expire on December 31, 2010, according to Seville.
During other business on Monday evening, the supervisors awarded a paving bid to P&W for its low bid of $21,272.55 to pave nearly one mile of road in the township. Supervisor Tom Nesbitt abstained from the vote. One other bid was received from New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. for $25,779.90, and supervisors Harr and Gary Hopkins voted to accept the low bid. The P&W bid was for $72.15 per ton, while the New Enterprise bid was for $86.70 per ton. Roadways to be paved include the access road to the township building and small portions of Woodland Drive and Cove Valley View Road. The supervisors said the total job is slightly less than one mile.
The supervisors reported "good business" for bulky item days on April 24 and 25. According to Harr, five 30-yard dumpsters of metal were removed and an additional two 30-yard and two 40-yard dumpsters of bulky items were collected. The supervisors will hold an additional one-day bulky item collection in September.
The supervisors also received notice from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection that due to the state's lack of funding, the township will no longer be paid for sewage enforcement services at this time. Townships were advised to continue to track those expenses in the hopes that the state will be able to reimburse at a later date. According to township secretary Denise Grissinger, expenses for the township's sewage enforcement officer are shared by the property owner and the township on a 50-50 basis. The township can then invoice the state for reimbursement on its 50 percent share.
Due to a schedule conflict with the Memorial Day holiday, the supervisors voted to change their regular May meeting to Tuesday, May 26, 2009.
Also during other business, the supervisors discussed a new ordinance with their solicitor, Stanley J. Kerlin, regarding the implementation of the septic system pumping program in the township. According to Act 537, all municipalities must establish a three-year septic system pumping schedule by 2010. The supervisors reviewed a sample ordinance but took no formal action on Monday evening.