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LERTA program established in Morrisville Borough to encourage economic development

Jeff Darwak, Executive Director of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, recently announced the establishment of a local economic revitalization tax assistance act (LERTA) program in Morrisville Borough.

Jeff said the Bucks County Commissioners, at their July 24th meeting, unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the establishment of the LERTA program.

The approval was the third and final authorization needed for the borough to implement the program that aims to attract new investment and spark economic development.

Prior to the Commissioner’s approval, Morrisville Borough Council and Morrisville Borough School District unanimously approved similar resolutions.

The Redevelopment Authority facilitated the approval process.

LERTA was created by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1977 and encourages investment and redevelopment of commercial, industrial and other business properties in areas experiencing disinvestment and deterioration.

The law authorizes local taxing authorities to provide temporary tax exemptions on improvements to commercial construction, and improvements to their property would result in additional assessment valuation.

The temporary exemption is limited to the additional assessment valuation resulting from completing a new construction or improvement project.

The property owner continues to pay the existing taxes in accordance with the schedule of tax exemptions established by the taxing bodies.

Darwak noted the Morrisville Borough LERTA program provides a seven-year exemption schedule.

The percentage of real property taxes to be exempted for the first two years following completion of construction is 100%, which would decrease by 20% each year thereafter.

Morrisville Borough Council President, Debbie Smith, said, “On behalf of the Morrisville Borough Council, I’d like to thank the Morrisville School Board and the Bucks County Commissioners for voting to approve the resolution for the borough’s LERTA program. This is an exciting step the council has taken with the help of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to move forward with revitalization efforts for our borough. Morrisville is a great riverfront town with a lot of potential!”

Morrisville Borough School Board President, Damon Miller, said, “I believe through the school board’s unanimous approval, all members are committed to working alongside our county and borough officials to improve the Morrisville community through the opportunities the LERTA program provides.”

The Redevelopment Authority, with assistance from the Bucks County Planning Commission, made recommendations concerning the LERTA District boundaries which were adopted by the borough.

Darwak applauded the collaborative efforts of all parties, “This is an all hands-on deck undertaking to establish the effective tool for redevelopment in Morrisville Borough. Having unanimous approvals from all governing bodies demonstrates that Morrisville Borough and the County Commissioners are committed to bringing all resources to the table to help revitalize Morrisville.”

Shortly after the LERTA program was announced, the Morrisville Borough Council was presented with a proposal for a mixed-use development in the Williamson Park area by Select Morrisville LLC.

The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks was created in 1962, empowered by Act 385, more commonly known as the “Urban Redevelopment Law,” in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Authority assists municipalities, businesses, private developers, and homeowners located in the County of Bucks, in the rehabilitation of blighted and deteriorated properties and reuse of abandoned or underutilized industrial, commercial and residential sites.