Tax dispute threatens construction of new East Stroudsburg University dorm

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Published: Dec 17 2012 03:10:21 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 18 2012 05:41:44 AM EST
East Stroudsburg University in Monroe County
EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

A dispute over a property tax exemption is threatening the proposed construction of a new dorm at East Stroudsburg University.

The university says it'll be lucky if it can open the planned 500-room residence hall in September 2014.

The university created a separate nonprofit entity to build the residence hall and received a tax exemption from the county worth about $650,000 annually. But the local school district and borough say the university is trying to avoid local property taxes.

The planned 500-bed facility is the second phase of a two-part project. The first phase, a 1,000-bed facility, has already been built. Officials had thought the facility to be tax exempt, until the university received a bill from the local tax assessor for a yearly tax of about $700,000.

University Vice President Richard Staneski said the project could be canceled if the district or borough appeals the decision.

The school district board is scheduled to discuss a possible appeal Monday.

East Stroudsburg tore down two old dorms in July and opened new suite buildings in January.