(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Every little bit helps.
That was the reaction Monday from Hazleton city officials after they were given a check from a not- for- profit group. Under state law. Non-profits do not have to pay property taxes
It’s called the “PILOT’ program… Payments in Lieu Of Taxes. It is used by communities like Hazleton to obtain funding from nonprofits who–again by law– do not have to pay a dime to the city when it comes to property taxes.
It may not look like a big deal but this check presentation inside Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat’s office is very big for the city. Officials from the Hazleton Housing Authority presented a pilot check for just over $52,000 thousand dollars.
“Because we feel we are obligated to do what we can toward the residents of Hazleton to the city of Hazleton and of course to the administration,” Said Charles Gennaro, Chairman Hazleton Housing Authority.
The Hazleton Housing Authority a not-for-profit agency– operates several housing complexes in the city. They do not have to say property taxes. But they do receive city services such as police and fire protection.
Joe Yannuzzi is vice -Chairman of The Authority’s Board Of Directors. He is also the former mayor of Hazleton. He says he sees the benefit of the PILOT program from both sides.
“Well, the pilot program is there anybody can get involved take a percentage of your total gross income and give a portion to the city. It doesn’t have to be an awful lot because there are a lot of nonprofits,” said Joe Yannuzzi.
But Mayor Cusat says the housing authority is the only nonprofit in the city that uses the pilot program.
“We would like others to step up like the housing authority has. It’s tough for everyone we understand that. The city is struggling” noted Mayor Cusat.
“It’s a complicated situation. Most of the nonprofits that you see simply don’t have the resources to do a PILOT to do the Payment in Lieu of Taxes” said Senator John Yudichak.
State Senator John Yudichak says historically nonprofit groups often give back to the community in other ways like services…
He doesn’t foresee state lawmakers taking action to force nonprofits to take part in the pilot program.
“So I think it needs to be a more case by case basis rather than legislative solutions to this. This really is about city or county governments negotiating with those nonprofits those that can contribute to making that contributions” added Senator Yudichak.