Like so many Pennsylvania communities, population is dwindling in small towns, like Albion.
So, Albion Borough council is partnering with the local school district, to implement a plan to spark revitalization, increase student enrollment, and reinvent the community.
The Northwestern School District has seen 400 students leave the district in the past ten years, and 189 students leave in just the past 5 years.
So it has proposed a five-year LERTA program, to help reverse the trend, "We really want to focus on bringing those students back, we have an amazing district, it's a small town hidden gem amongst Erie county, we have two blue ribbon schools that people don't even know about," said Melanie Floyd, Business Manager with the Northwestern School District. "We decided to pass it in hopes that maybe in the next five years we could see an increase, whether it's one family or ten families, bringing those numbers back to our district," Floyd continued.
The LERTA program would offer a 100% tax break, for new construction or qualified improvements, in the first year.
Property owners would pay only a portion of property taxes to the borough, each following year, decreasing each year by 20%. They would pay the normal tax rate, in the sixth year.
Albion borough council is set to pass the LERTA ordinance at its Thursday meeting, "This hopefully will bring in new businesses, new construction homes, residential homes, to improve the community," said Borough Council Member, Sam Steff. "It's not going to cost us anything, all it can do is generate, and if we can generate something, we'll create a better tax base... that building is going to be here 30 years, on the tax rolls," Steff continued.
The district is trying to get other municipalities, like Conneaut, Cranesville, and Platea on board, to spark revitalization in those communities as well.