Erie School District Weighs In On Bayfront Hotel Issue - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Erie School District Weighs In On Bayfront Hotel Issue

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The Erie School Board sent a strong message to the parties considering public funding for another convention center hotel on the bayfront.


They called a special meeting so their voice would be heard before Erie County Council's scheduled vote on the matter Tuesday.

In just minutes, they approved a resolution calling on the county and Erie County Convention Center Authority to develop bayfront land in a way that maximizes tax revenue.  The district is struggling with deficit budgets and aging buildings and say they need the revenue.

"Our tax base has shrunk dramatically over the decades and the state comes up short, so we have to do all we can to protect possible sources of revenue we have," said John Harkins, Erie School Board President. "It's unfair to ask homeowners to continue to shoulder the bill while we maybe let business take a private piece of real estate and take it off the tax rolls."

"As our expenses continue to rise, our revenue likely remains flat and a big part of that is a high percentage of tax exempt properties that the district has," said Dr. Jay Badams, Superintendent of the Erie School District.

The school board wants the county to maximize tax revenue, or to at least require grants or payment in lieu of tax agreements from bayfront developers.

 

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