Crawford County commissioners unanimously approved a five-year tax break for a proposed Cochranton housing project for senior citizens.

In approving the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance designation for Adams Place, commissioners joined Cochranton Borough Council, which approved its own LERTA for the planned $12 million project last month.

Crawford Central School District also heard a presentation on the LERTA request from Hudson Companies of Hermitage at its November study session. The school board is expected to vote on the request in January.

Hudson Companies has proposed constructing the 39-unit apartment building for low-income seniors age 62 and older on North Franklin Street next to the Cochranton Community Services Complex. The land, a 1.7-acre site, currently is vacant.

Under a five-year LERTA, property taxes on improvements to a property are exempted on a sliding scale. No taxes are paid on the improvements in the first year and the taxes increase 20 percent each year over the next five years. The LERTA applies only to the newly assessed value after the improvements are made.

According to estimates a Hudson official presented to the school board, if the Adams Place property is assessed at $350,000 when construction is complete and the county millage rate remains the same, the LERTA approved by county commissioners would result in the county forgoing approximately $23,000 in taxes over five years.

Under Pennsylvania law, approval from all three entities — county, school district and municipality — is not required for a LERTA to take effect, according to Joe Galbo, Crawford County's chief tax assessor.

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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