Week of February 20, 2017
Get ready for tax reform
Proposals to overhaul the U.S. tax system are gaining steam in Washington, with plenty at stake for homeowners. In this video, National Association of REALTORS® President Bill Brown is speaking out and committing to fight on behalf of important tax incentives like the mortgage interest deduction, the state and local property tax deduction, and 1031 like-kind exchanges. Brown also made it clear that REALTORS® will make their voices heard as the conversation continues on Capitol Hill.
Source: Nar.realtor; 2/14/2017
Gettysburg Area School District approves preliminary budget
The Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) Board of School Directors approved a preliminary 2017-18 budget that exceeds the 2.5 percent index and leaves the door open in applying for Act 1 exceptions. Act 1 exceptions can be used to cover cost increases for things like retirement and special education - both of which the district is eligible to apply for, said GASD Business Manager Brad Hunt. The preliminary budget shows a 4.909 percent increase, which would mean a tax increase of $128 for a home assessed at $250,000. The proposed budget includes a budget shortfall of $3.2 million without the exceptions. Hunt said the next step is for the board to apply for the exceptions, "If they authorize us to apply, that does not say they will use them but leaves the option open."
Source: Gettysburg Times; 2/11/2017
Gettysburg site's zoning OK for proposed marijuana retail dispensary
Gettysburg Borough council confirmed that a proposed medical marijuana retail dispensary would be permitted under the borough zoning ordinance. Lebanon Wellness Center is seeking a state license for a site on the west side of Baltimore Street midway between Middle Street and Lincoln Square. The licensing application process requires a letter from the borough stating the proposed shop would be permissible under borough rules. Although retail uses are automatically permitted by the "Old Town" zoning of the site, Borough Manager Charles Gable brought the matter to council because medical marijuana remains a "hot-button issue" despite its legalization in Pennsylvania last year. The council voted 6-1 to authorize Gable to issue the letter.
Source: Gettysburg Times; 2/17/2017
LASD: No tax increase to fund Phase 1 capital projects
Littlestown Area School District (LASD) Superintended Christopher Bigger promised residents at a recent public forum that there will not be a tax increase to fund the school district's capital improvement project - at least not for Phase 1. The first phase of the LASD campus improvement project is expected to cost about $3.4 million, with Phases 2 and 3 coming later down the road, if the district can afford it. Phase 1 would include the addition of a new turf stadium in the place of Rolling Hills Elementary, turf fields for soccer and field hockey, new home bleachers, a new concession stand and public restrooms, new ticket booths, a new stadium entry plaza, lighting and fencing. LASD will provide between $2.5 and $2.9 million to Phase 1, said Bigger, with leftover capital improvement funds from $14 million borrowed in July 2015 for the Alloway Creek Intermediate School construction. In order to make Phase 1 a reality, the community must fundraise $400,000 by the fall of 2017. Click here to view the presentation.
Source: Gettysburg Times; 2/15/2017
National Park Service wants trail, field moved in Gettysburg
The National Park Service (NPS) wants to remove a portion of a trail at the Gettysburg Recreation Park, said council member Jake Schindel. According to Schindel, a proper survey was not conducted prior to construction of the facilities in the rec park's southwest corner. About 600 feet of the trail and the football field are on NPS land. Schindel, who serves on both the borough council and the board of the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority (GARA), which manages the rec park, proposed a memorandum of understanding among the parties as a potential solution. However, Gettysburg Borough Manager Charles Gable said federal officials already rejected that idea because they want the land to be made "clean." The council's representative on the Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission will bring up the matter at the next meeting, April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Council members asked their attorney, Harold Eastman, for his thoughts on the situation. "They own it. We built on their land," he replied.
Source: Gettysburg Times; 2/16/2017
York RDA takes action on Northwest Triangle
The York Redevelopment Authority (RDA) recently sold three of the four parcels it owns at the Northwest Triangle to The Time Group, a Baltimore real estate developer. The Time Group had an option from the RDA that gave it the right to evaluate whether it wanted to buy the entire four acres at the Northwest Triangle from the RDA. The option ran out in December, but the Time Group still wanted the opportunity to build in the Northwest Triangle. The Time Group wants to build several buildings, including one with 130 apartments at market-rate rents and stores on the ground floor. Other additional buildings could be constructed, but their use has not been determined yet, said Dominic Walker, Time Group's development director. The RDA board also voted to sell an option on the remaining parcel at the Northwest Triangle, along the Codorus Creek by the Rail Trail to a second development team. The team, which has 120 days to evaluate the site before possible purchase, includes York robotics and computer coding school founder John McElligott, Wagman Co. Chairman Joe Wagman, Mechanicsburg developer Hugh Simpson and Campbell Associates, a Springettsbury Township real estate development and construction firm. The group is proposing a mixed-use innovation campus with apartments, a building for high-tech manufacturing, a second location for the robotics school, and office space to house companies that would want to locate near the school.
Source: York Daily Record; 2/17/2017
Spring Garden residents wary of building cost
A proposed municipal complex for Spring Garden Township would incorporate administrative, police and recreation offices as well as offer multipurpose fields, a trail and other park amenities. Some residents however, are concerned about the price and location of the proposed complex. Spring Garden Township is looking at a bond issue of $14 to $18 million for the new complex. According to information on the township website, it would cost the owner of a home assessed at $163,000 and extra $143.44 or $184.52 a year for the project. Township officials have been working on the proposal for the new 56-acre municipal complex near the Mount Rose interchange off Interstate 83 for years. The proposal currently is in final design, and officials plan to seek bids for the project later in the year. Visit the township website for information about the project http://www.springgardentwp.org/ .
Source: York Daily Record; 2/17/2017
York City School Board gives deadline to Thackston Charter School
The Helen Thackston Charter School came under fire at a special York City School Board meeting, where the school district laid out a number of problems it has experienced with the charter school over the last two years. Among the issues discussed were troubling test scores, a lack of transparency regarding finances and scarce programming related to homeland security, a focus of the charter school. The school board approved a resolution setting actions and deadlines for the charter school. The resolution requests that Helen Thackston addresses various aspects of these issues by certain dates or have an explanation of why the problems could not be addressed. The resolution states that if the charter school fails to meet the recommendations by the deadline, the school board can "revoke or not renew (Helen Thackston Charter School's) charter." Helen Thackston officials said the financial issues were due to a lack of documents that are in the process of being obtained. The school's attorney, Brian Leinhauser, commented on the test scores and homeland security programming, saying the school was in the process of developing the curriculum. The earliest due date for Helen Thackston is Feb. 24, when York City School District expects the charter to submit several important documents on finances, amended school board bylaws and a staffing list with certification information, according to the resolution. The charter school opened in 2009, with a charter renewal in 2014 and another renewal scheduled for 2018.
Source: York Dispatch; 2/16/2017