COCHRANTON — Borough Council may vote Monday whether to grant a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance designation for the proposed Adams Place development along North Franklin Street.

Adams Place is a 39-unit apartment building for low-income senior citizens age 62 and older in Cochranton.

Planned by the Hudson Companies of Hermitage, it would be built on a 1.7-acre vacant site on North Franklin Street on the north side of the borough near the Cochranton Community Services Complex.

In July, Adams Place was one of 39 affordable multifamily housing developments across Pennsylvania awarded a total of $41.6 million in tax credits by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Under a LERTA, property taxes on improvements to a property are exempted for a given time period on a sliding scale, usually either 10 or 20 percent until the full property tax rate is reached. The LERTA applies only to the newly assessed value after the improvements are made.

Kelley Coey, development coordinator for Hudson Companies, told Cochranton Borough Council at its meeting this week that the company is working on final financial plans with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and seeking all necessary permits. The project would begin after final financial approval from the PHFA in March, she said.

Coey pointed out the Crawford County Planning Office had informed Hudson that Cochranton borough has a five-year LERTA program. Cochranton's LERTA first went into effect in 1989 as a 10-year program but was modified to a maximum of five years in 1992 by Borough Council.

Some council members expressed concern about granting a LERTA because Hudson hadn't asked for it initially. Some members also said they weren't aware the borough's LERTA program existed.

"I'm not opposed, but it just feels backward," Councilman Cory Jackson said of granting a LERTA this late into the project.

The tax credits help pay for the project because rents are restricted under income guidelines, Coey said. With rents restricted, the operating budget for the building is restricted too, so the company looks for any assistance available, Coey said.

Borough Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the last of its 2020 budget meetings as well as any other business including a potential vote on a LERTA for Hudson.

Coey said she'll meet with Crawford Central School Board at its committee meeting Nov. 18 to discuss the school district's possible granting of a LERTA.

Crawford County commissioners have postponed taking action on a LERTA for the project, pending more information on the length of the LERTA.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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