Tuesday, August 12, 2008

City approves submission of economic revitalization grant applications

At their meeting, Tuesday evening, Lancaster City Council approved a grant application to be submitted by the County on behalf of the county, the city, and Manheim Township, to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to establish a "Transit Revitalization Investment District" in the area roughly surrounding the Lancaster Amtrak Station.

The grant application asks for $100,000 for this purpose.

That funding will be used, says Randy Patterson, the head of the city's Department of Economic Development & Neighborhood Revitalization, to complete a required study and plan for implementing a situation akin to a tax increment financing (TIF) district around the train station.

A "TIF," Patterson explains, is a tool which allows the city and its partners to issue bonds in anticipation of the expected increased tax revenue from higher assessed values on development that the bonds enable.

Patterson mentioned in his remarks to City Council that one of the things the city hopes to be able to address with the district is the issue of parking around the train station.

Also Tuesday night, City Council approved another grant application to DCED on behalf of the Meeder Development Corporation for the redevelopment of the 141-147 East King Street property as previously reported in the New Era.

Although a representative from Meeder Development Corporation was not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting, Patterson told Council that Meeder's plans include provisions for 10 residential units as well as commercial/retail space.

In other business, Tuesday, Mayor Rick Gray reported that since the city introduced the ability for persons to pay some of their bills, including tickets, online, "more than $8,000" has been paid through the website. The City introduced online bill payment late last month.

Gray also reported that the theft of aluminum from recycling bins has been an increasing prevalent problem for the city.

"Recently, the city cited a scavenger who cased in nearly $1,400 worth of loose aluminum cans in two months," Gray said.

The Mayor went on to say, "There is no doubt that a high recycling rate helps the city provide weekly trash removal service at a low fee to customers" and encouraged residents to report incidents of theft of recycling materials to the City Police (717-664-1180) or the Solid Waste Authority's hotline (717-291-4744).