Amusement tax reduction drops

Logan Township supervisors decide against 1-percent cut that would benefit Altoona Curve

The proposal ended up dying like a flyball in the wind.

In June, the Logan Township supervisors seemed ready to reduce amusement tax by 1 percent, so the Altoona Curve could redirect its resultant savings into a fund to rehabilitate Peoples Natural Gas Field.

In October, the supervisors voted to advertise their intention to consider an ordinance for that reduction — but with two supervisors opposed and one on the fence, it created a virtual tie on the proposal.

Last week, at the end of the supervisors’ last meeting of the year, with nothing having been done, the supervisors remained silent, initially, when asked about the fate of the measure.

It’s not going to happen, they said, finally.

When they first heard the amusement tax proposal in June, the supervisors gave the impression they were in favor, said former Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. CEO Marty Marasco, who led a committee that organized stakeholders to contribute to the fund.

At the time, those stakeholders believed that a failure to raise the necessary money could lead to the Curve abandoning this area.

By October, after other stakeholders came through and the Curve’s stadium rehabilitation fund had enough commitments to reach the committee’s goal of $200,000-plus to serve as collateral for a $1.5 million bank loan, the threat of the team’s abandoning the area had eased.

That month, Supervisors Dave Rhoa and Ed Frontino argued against the tax reduction.

It sets a bad precedent to forgive taxes for a profit-making business that provides recreation, Rhoa said.

It bespeaks a lack of planning on the part of the Curve to need such help, Frontino said.

After the October meeting, the township’s uncertain property tax situation loomed larger, making it clear that now is not the time to reduce the amusement tax, said Supervisor Joe Metzgar on Monday.

The property tax uncertainty is the result of the recent county reassessment.

The county recently certified the township’s tax base, but 4 percent of that base is at risk, due to potential appeals, officials have said.

As a hedge against that potential loss from successful appeals, the supervisors in December added millage that would generate 6 percent more revenue than the township received from property tax this year.

It would be inconsistent — “contradictory” — to reduce amusement tax while taking that additional 6 percent, Metzgar said.

Despite the October vote, the supervisors never advertised the potential ordinance, agreeing that it didn’t make sense to spend the couple hundred dollars required, Metzgar said.

The amusement tax request is “on the back burner till we get through reassessment,” Metzgar said. “Maybe we’ll look at it at a future date.”

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.