UNIONTOWN — The Uniontown Area School District became the third and final taxing body to approve a five-year tax abatement program for the City of Uniontown to fight blight in the city.
The school board adopted a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) ordinance that establishes tax exemptions for certain deteriorated industrial, commercial and other business properties in the city.
Under LERTA, local taxing bodies may exempt property owners from real estate taxes on improvements to the properties.
The ordinance adopted Monday, which was previously approved by Uniontown City Council and the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, allows eligible properties to receive tax-exempt status for a five-year period on the assessed valuation of improvements made to the properties.
After the five-year grace period ends, properties are reassessed to reflect the changes and appropriately taxed.
Any industrial, commercial or other business property located in the city’s C1 (Local Business District), C2 (Central Business District), BP (Business-Professional District) or LI (Light Industrial District) zoning areas are eligible to participate in the program.
According to the ordinance, an improvement constitutes any repair or construction that rehabilitates an eligible property so that it becomes habitable; attains higher standards of safety, health, economic use or amenity; or is brought into regulatory compliance.
The ordinance will expire at the end of 2024 unless otherwise repealed by city council.
The conception for the LERTA originated with the Uniontown Redevelopment Authority, whose members discussed with city council the benefits of the program. City council members have said the program will help fight against blight and dilapidated properties in the city.
The eight school board members present Monday unanimously voted to approve the ordinance. School director Don Rugola was not in attendance.
Last year, the district adopted LERTA agreements with Franklin and Menallen townships and a modified LERTA agreement with Wharton Township that extended a previous agreement with that municipality. It also has a LERTA agreement with Henry Clay Township.