Schuylkill reaches agreement on tax assessment appeals
SAPA Extrusion/Hydro, located on Pottsville Street, Cressona, is one of Schuylkill County’s top five employers. LISA PRICE/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
During a meeting Wednesday, the Schuylkill County Commissioners finalized tax assessment appeal settlements with two businesses, one a major county employer and the other, a mainstay of downtown Shenandoah. The commissioners also said they’d be open to discussion on a LERTA arrangement involving the expansion of the company, SAPA Extrusion/Hydro.
“A lot of good work and research went into these negotiations,” said Chairman George Halcovage. “Some real positives came out of this process.”
SAPA Extrusion/Hydro, located on Pottsville Street, Cressona, is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world, encompassing about 100 acres with 13 buildings on site, performing a large range of extrusion, machining, fabrication and finishing services. It’s one of the county’s top five employers (the others are Walmart, state government, Lowe’s and Jeld-Wen).
The facility was designed and constructed during World War II for the U.S. government in response to the high demand for extruded shapes and tubing, used for military vehicles and supplies. The U.S. government operated the plant from April 1943 to October 1944, and afterward the Defense Department used the facility for the reclamation of returned ordnance material.
In September 2018, the company began an expansion project to construct a 96,000-square-foot facility on its property. In the new building, the company plans to create new manufacturing capabilities for the automotive market. At the same time, the company plans infrastructure improvements to the existing facility, purchasing and modernizing equipment. The price tag for the entire project is an investment of $100 million. as well as purchase and modernize equipment to increase overall reliability and efficiency. Hydro plans to invest more than $100 million into the project, which is expected to create 60 new jobs and retain a further 130 jobs.
SAPA had filed two assessment appeals, versus the county and Blue Mountain School District. Extensive negotiations on the matter included nonbinding mediation. Under the terms of the agreement:
The fair market valuation for the property (in two parcels) is $9.5 million.
SAPA/Hydro waives tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017, and will receive a credit for 2018 overpayment toward 2019 taxes.
The parties will work to establish the actual, agreed upon square footage of the building structures.
The county will provide SAPA/Hydro an estimate of value for the new construction, per square foot.
The taxing districts are agreeable to discussing a LERTA arrangement, consistent with other LERTA projects of a similar dollar value and/or square footage.
The stipulation and joint motion was unanimously approved by Halcovage and Commissioners Frank Staudenmeier and Gary Hess.
The other resolved assessment appeal involved Shenandoah RX Associates LLC, which is the Rite Aid store. In that matter, the county and involved taxing districts agreed to an overall fair market value of $2.2 million, effective for 2019 and thereafter. The commissioners also unanimously approved that settlement. The property sold in March 2018 with a sale price of $2,581,875.