A proposed taxpayer-funded rec center estimated to cost $32 million in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, is causing residents to second-guess local officials’ plans based on the estimated increase in taxes it will cause.
The proposed space would include a 10-lane competition pool, a rec swim area, a gym, game rooms, multipurpose spaces, and a second level with a health center and indoor track.
- If you happen to be tracking the Pennsylvania pool landscape: this facility would be over 70 miles away from the newly-approved $25 million Philadelphia Aquatic Center.
According to township tax collector Lou Paioletti, the project could raise taxes by a whopping 30 percent in the immediate and could cost even more down the line.
“I think 32 million dollars is far, far excessive for what this township can afford,” he told ABC27 News. “This [proposed] Derry Township Rec. Center could make our taxes go up 30 percent, but on top of that — we’re looking at a total increase of potentially 87 percent over the next seven years.”
He estimates that someone with a home assessed at $250,000 would pay an additional $440 per year.
However, township supervisor Susan Cort is adamant that the current facility – the Hershey Rec Center – needs replacing. She admitted that the project would cause an increase, but projects that increase to be roughly a third of what Paioletti does.
“It’s impossible to do a project like this without raising taxes,” she said. “Your tax increase might be $144 more per year so this is on real estate tax, it’s not school tax.”
The township held a fundraiser last week to help with the cost and bid farewell to the old facility, and the Hershey Company contributed $1 million. It also garnered some smaller donations from local businesses, and then raised $16,000 from the community.
“It’s our goal to make sure we’re looking for every possible funding source, because at the end of the day we want to minimize the impact on the taxpayer,” Cort continued.
Among the swimmers that have come out of the area: NCAA Champion and former National High School and American Record holder David Nolan.
If the project does get approved later this month, construction would begin in March 2019.