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Shippensburg school board votes down tax breaks for Georgia Pacific

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The Shippensburg Area School District board of directors voted against a tax-relief package for Georgia Pacific, which seeks to build a new distribution facility outside the township.

The company asked the board to consider a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement incentive, which calls for a phased-in tax payment schedule. While some board members supported the LERTA, the board voted 5-4 against the proposal, said Jonathan Bowser,executive director of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp., because it included a 100 percent abatement in the first year.

“I think the message from the school board was, largely due to our budget issues, we’re not amenable to a 100 percent abatement in the first year," Bowser said.

School board officials could not be reached for comment this morning. The deal with Georgia Pacific remains alive, Bowser said. Another meeting is schedule for next Wednesday and CAEDC will pitch a revised LERTA plan on behalf of the company, he said.

Georgia Pacific considered two sites for a facility that would create about 50 jobs, announcing Friday that it had selected the ProLogis Park in Southampton Township, near Exit 29. The Franklin County Area Development Corp. lobbied George Pacific to select the United Business Park in Southampton Township, Franklin County, near Exit 24.

The revised LERTA will show some tax revenue for the school district in year one, Bowser said. The LERTA is "extremely important" for Georgia Pacific, he said, adding that officials need to recognize it is a competitive economic market.

"This is (Georgia Pacific's) preferred site, but they still have economic benchmarks they need to meet internally in order to sign on the dotted line," Bowser said.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia Pacific has 35,000 employees and facilities in 25 states. It is one of the world's leading manufacturers of tissue, paper, pulp and packaging products and related chemicals.

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