Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem to Contemplate Expanding LERTA District

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem City Council will consider expanding a proposed tax incentive zone next month.

An increase to the boundaries of a proposed Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) district on the city's North Side was presented to the legislative body during their Tuesday night meeting. In a memo issued by Allyson Lysaght, the city's housing and community and development planner, the expansion would add neighborhoods around Moravian College to the potential district. This would include areas between Laurel and Broad streets. The zone would run from Maple Street on the east side to Mauch Chunk Road on the west side.

The memo notes the city is proposing a flat 10 percent tax abatement over the 10-year LERTA period rather than the graduated schedule the city's other South Side LERTA districts operate under. A LERTA district encourages investment by the property owner by phasing in real estate taxes on building improvements and new construction over a decade.

Council will hold a public hearing on the matter at 7 p.m. on April 4 in Town Hall.

In other news Tuesday night, council approved an ordinance increasing appropriations in the 2017 general fund budget in five areas - lead hazard, electronic health records, department contracts, city and Northampton County revitalization grant.

Council also approved an ordinance to increase total appropriations in the 2017 water fund budget by $1.4 million and another ordinance to increase appropriations in the 2017 sewer capital fund by more than $3 million from about $6.5 million to $9.5 million.


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