Press Room

County commissioners back developer's tax deal plan

By Mary E. Young, Reading Eagle

The Berks County commissioners Tuesday supported a developer's plans to secure a tax deal so he can widen a bridge needed to improve access to his proposed retail center in Cumru Township.

Commissioners Mark C. Scott and Christian Y. Leinbach appointed Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt to join representatives of the township and the Gov. Mifflin School District on a tax increment steering committee that will work with the county redevelopment authority to set up the tax deal.

Tod Auman, president of TedCar Properties, said Reading Hospital soon will open a medical office building constructed in the first phase of The Gateway at Grings Hill project at the Mohnton exit of Route 222. The first phase also includes a hotel.

However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation won't allow subsequent phases, including 300,000 square feet of retail space, to proceed until the bridge is widened, Auman said.

The bridge is expected to cost $7 million to $9 million, he said.

Kenneth L. Pick, director of the county community development office, said the development would increase the assessed value of the property, and the developer would pay full taxes to the three taxing bodies on the increased value.

Under the tax increment financing plan, part or all of the additional taxes collected on the increased assessment would be used to repay the money borrowed to improve the bridge, Pick said.

He said similar tax financing plans have paid for public improvements related to development in Berks.

Exeter Commons was the most recent, Pick said.

Contact Mary Young: 610-478-6292 or myoung@readingeagle.com.