South Middleton Twp. supervisors not interested in financing road for private developers

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SOUTH MIDDLETON TWP. Pa. -- In Cumberland County, South Middleton Township supervisors said they're not interested in helping to finance a one-mile road from York Road to Trindle Road.

Private developers are planning to build on a portion of real estate in the township. They need that road to be built before they can develop land in the area.

Jonathan Bowser, the CEO of Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, said, "We thought that that would get people off of the more local roads, going through Fairview and the local neighborhoods. So this was one of the alternatives and probably the most viable alternative."

That new road would cost about $6 million. In order to get the money, the economic development corporation is proposing a TIF district.

TIF stands for tax increment financing and can only be used to build public infrastructure. The private developers would pay a property tax to Cumberland County and the school board. But as the land is developed, their taxes go up. So that TIF would take a percentage of the tax increase and pay off part of the developers' debt.

Bowser said, "By helping us out in this upfront infrastructure, we will be able to kind of expedite the process to move the process along further."

But that tax money wouldn't go back to the county and school board for about 15-20 years. Township supervisors don't understand why the private developer can't pay for the roads themselves.

Tom Faley, a township supervisor, said, "They predict it will be worth when it's all sold out 171 million dollars. So somebody is going to make a lot of money and that somebody could be these developers in all probability."

That's why he said township supervisors will not consider the TIF.

Faley said, "We want no part of it. Administratively we could be asked in the end to outline legally a TIF District, but legally we don't even want to do that."

Developers said they still want to build the road, but they just have to figure out how to pay for it.

Officials with the economic development corporation said the development will create more jobs for the region.

The money from the TIF would also go toward public infrastructure like sewer system extensions and storm water upgrades.