Local Tax Raised
People soon will pay more to work in Harrisburg, as City Council has tripled the local services tax.
By a 5-1 margin, council voted to hike the LST from $1 to $3 per week. Only Councilwoman Shamaine Daniels opposed the measure.
Tax withholding will begin on July 1. However, for 2016, workers will actually pay $5 per week to make up for lost revenue back to the effective date of Jan. 1.
People who work in Harrisburg now will pay a local tax of $156 a year if they earn more than $24,500. Commuters vastly outnumber resident workers in Harrisburg, so the majority of income raised from the tax will come from people who live outside the city.
The LST hike coincided with several other tweaks to Harrisburg’s financial recovery plan. Most notably, the amended plan suggests that the city could consider adopting a Home Rule charter, which would give it more taxing options once it exits the state’s Act 47 program for financially distressed cities. However, council would have to pass another ordinance before initiating the Home Rule process.
Harrisburg will need to find another new treasurer, as Tyrell Spradley resigned last month after just 18 months in office.
City Council now must determine how to replace Spradley. For past vacancies, council members interviewed applicants, nominated their preferred candidates and chose among the finalists.
The treasurer’s office has been a revolving door since September 2014, when elected Treasurer John Campbell resigned after being charged with stealing money from two nonprofit groups. Two months later, Spradley was appointed, but only after council’s first choice withdrew his name from contention. Spradley was elected in his own right last year.
City treasurer is a part-time position that pays $20,000 per year. Deputy Treasurer Celia Spicher runs the office on a day-to-day basis.
New Archives Building
A new state Archives building soon will take shape on long-empty land along the 6th Street corridor, the state announced.
The building will occupy a three-acre site along N. 6th Street flanked by Harris and Hamilton streets. The $24 million project will occupy almost three complete city blocks, with half of the site backing to N. 7th Street.
Design is expected to begin soon, followed by a two-year construction phase that should be completed in 2019, said Howard Pollman, director of external affairs for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The commission has been searching for a site for a new building for several years, as the Archives’ current home—a 20-story tower built in the mid-1960s at the Capitol complex—is bursting from more than 450 million documents.
“The building we have here is full,” Pollman said. “We also have issues with environmental concerns.”
The commission will retain and repurpose the tower, perhaps for collection storage, said Pollman.
Reed Counts Dismissed
A judge last month dismissed 305 criminal counts against former Harrisburg Mayor Steve Reed, saying the alleged crimes occurred too long ago.
The alleged acts, pertaining to Reed’s tenure as mayor, were outside the statute of limitations, according to presiding Judge Kevin A. Hess.
Hess let stand another 144 counts, mostly pertaining to allegations that Reed stole and kept city-funded artifacts. The state last year confiscated many historical artifacts from Reed’s home and at a nearby storage site, but the former mayor said they legally belonged to him.
The attorney general’s office could appeal the ruling.
Restaurant, Shops for Strawberry Square
A new restaurant and a new gift shop soon will open in downtown Harrisburg, among a flurry of business activity in Strawberry Square.
A 60-seat eatery is slated to open in early fall near the 3rd Street entrance in a long-empty space once occupied by a bank branch. It’s the latest concept of restaurateur Juan Garcia, who owns El Sol and La Noche. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will offer a variety of salads, soups, wraps and other healthy options, said Brad Jones, CEO of Harristown Enterprises, which owns Strawberry Square.
Inside the Square, Harristown has signed a replacement for Strawberry Patch, the Hallmark store that shut down in January after 35 years in business. By July, owner Shekhar Shah will open Strawberry Gifts, a 4,000-square-foot Hallmark store in the same space as the previous shop, said Jones.
In other retail news, AMMA JO, a fashion and lifestyle boutique, is expanding into space directly next to her original location, said owner Amma Johnson. Johnson will take another 1,200 square feet, extending her product line, as well.
Another specialty retailer, Ideas and Objects, is making an adjustment. Jones said that the long-time retailer will relocate from an interior location to 11 N. 3rd St., a smaller space with street access.
DeHart Deal Approved
The Capital Region Water board of directors has unanimously approved an agreement to conserve its 8,200-acre DeHart property in partnership with the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and Fort Indiantown Gap.
DeHart, located in northern Dauphin County, is the primary source of drinking water for Capital Region Water’s 60,000-plus customers. The property includes the 5-mile long, 6-billion gallon DeHart Reservoir and 7,500 acres of forestland.
Under the agreement, Capital Region Water will receive approximately $9 million through the Fort Indiantown Gap Army Compatible Use Buffer program to grant a conservation easement restricting development on the property. Capital Region Water will continue to own and manage the property.
Harrisburg-area officeholders beat back party challengers during the recent primary election.
State Rep. Patty Kim defeated challenger Richard Soto by a wide margin for the Democratic nomination for the 103rd legislative district. She is unopposed in the general election in November.
In the 104th district, incumbent Republican Sue Helm topped challenger Nate Curtis. She’ll face Democrat Jody Rebarchak in the general.
In the 15th Senate district, incumbent Sen. Rob Teplitz easily topped challenger Alvin Q. Taylor. In the general election, he’ll face developer John DiSanto, who narrowly beat Andrew Lewis in the Republican primary.
Home Sales Climb
Homes sales in the Harrisburg area rose substantially in April compared to the year-ago period.
The Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors reported that April sales totaled 739 units in April, compared to 653 units in April 2015 in its region, which includes all of Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and parts of York, Lebanon and Juniata counties.
The median price dipped a bit, from $163,000 to $160,000, though the average days on the market fell substantially, from 99 to 83 days.
County-by-county statistics reflected similar trends, with unit sales up substantially and average time on the market down.
Aangan Express opened for business last month at 263 Reily St. in Midtown Harrisburg. The restaurant, located directly across the street from Midtown Cinema, is a second location for Aangan Indian Restaurant of Susquehanna Township.
Better Homes and Gardens Capital Area cut the ribbon last month at its location at 500 N. Progress Ave. The company offers a range of real estate services for the Harrisburg region.
Dalicia Bakery opened its doors last month at 1419 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. Owner Samra Alic and her daughter, Ajla, run the bakery, which offers breads, sandwiches and Little Amps coffee, in addition to cakes and other sweet treats.
Eastern University and the Papenfuse administration announced a partnership last month to provide tuition breaks to Harrisburg city workers and their families. Employees will receive a 25-percent discount as well as some free professional development training.
Fasta & Ravioli Co. had a “pasta cutting” last month to open its elaborate new stand in the brick building of the Broad Street Market. To celebrate, owner Bob Ricketts gave away 1,000 pounds of pasta to customers.
Harrisburg Mall last month announced the arrival this summer of two new restaurants. Kondu, serving quick-style Asian cuisine, will take a spot next to 2nd & Charles, while burger-and-fries franchise Checkers will open in the food court.
Mel’s Rock N’BBQ moved into a permanent home in the Broad Street Market last month. Mel’s had been in a pop-up stand for several months before building out a permanent spot in the stone building.
Barkley Lane, 2525: R. Medellin to T. Brandon, $64,000
Briggs St., 235: J. Bradley to JLS Rentals LLC, $66,000
Calder St., 254: C. Elder to C. Baxter, $93,900
Derry St., 1221: N&R Group LLC & Touch of Color to 101 S. 17th Street LLC, $250,000
Derry St., 2615: P. Nalewak to S. Mejia, $38,000
Duke St., 2436: A. Miller to D. Moran & M. Everetts, $56,000
Fulton St., 1410: C. Platkin to N. Richardson, $95,000
Fulton St., 1707: J. & C. Thomason to C. Hutchinson, $102,000
Green St., 1610: M. & S. Noorbaksh to A. Calvano, $118,000
Green St., 1619: D. Healey Sr. to M. & L. Stednitz, $101,200
Harris St., 220: E. Brown to D. Grossman, $49,000
Harris Terr., 2483: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development to H. Nguyen, $35,000
Herr St., 267: B. Moehler to R. Joseph, $140,000
Hoerner St., 135: J. Gable to Green Property Management LLC, $49,900
Hoffman St., 3012: J. Dearing to D. Gule, $99,900
Logan St., 1712: Secretary of Veterans Affairs to PA Deals LLC, $72,250
Market St., 1913: Fulton Bank NA to Slatehouse Group LLC, $52,000
Market St., 2501A: J. Langley to A. Buglione, $55,000
Mercer St., 2468: PA Deals LLC to MidAtlantic IRA LLC & C. Hampton, $61,900
North St., 274: Mid Penn Bank to A. Gonzalez & L. Galvis, $240,000
N. 2nd St., 1007: J. & M. Solomon to C. & E. Bryce, $195,000
N. 3rd St., 1404 and 1409 & 1411 Susquehanna St.: Volunteers of America to Zecharya International Inc., $50,000
N. 3rd St., 2331: Federal National Mortgage Assoc. to F. Laoukili & M. Mtere, $32,000
N. 4th St., 1623: GWD Capitol Heights LP to T. Menta, $109,900
N. 4th St., 2715: J. Gilmore to K. Hilborn, $90,000
N. 5th St., 1821: C. Mitchell & J. Jackson to Home for the Friendless, $71,500
N. 6th St., 1408: PA Deals LLC to D. Sharma & N. Aggarwal, $103,250
N. 6th St., 2508, 2512 & 2516: JRH Anthony Partnership & Mr. Handyman of Lincoln Park to Harrisburg Housing Authority, $230,000
N. 13th St., 142: V. Trong to J. Forsyth LLC, $30,000
N. 17th St., 1000: S. Osibodu to D. Robinson, $75,000
Park St., 1923: S&H Investment Group LLC to Diamond Mined LLC, $45,000
Penn St., 1801: C. Touma to M. McCann, $112,000
Penn St., 1820: PA Deal LLC to D. Kapil, $122,000
Penn St., 1915: A. Mills to J. Bankard, $136,000
Rudy Rd., 1914: J. Charlton to M. Thach, $66,000
Rumson Dr., 2990: M. Salerno to R. Gonzalez & M. Cabrera, $50,000
S. 16th St., 1047: W. & E. Turns to W. Zawadski, $50,000
S. 18th St., 1319: New Island Properties LLC to K. Shemory, $80,000
S. 19th St., 24: J. Forsyth LLC to B. Zimmerman, $40,500
S. 25th St., 442: P. Bauer to R. Weese, $94,900
S. Cameron St., 912: Camp Hill Cleaners & Mark Cleaners to New Vision Management, $100,000
S. Front St., 707: D. & G. Dowen to A. Patton, $180,000
State St., 1606: Mid Penn Bank to R. Covington & T. Pean, $35,000
Susquehanna St., 1336: Metro Bank to Frog Hollow Associates LLC, $77,500
Verbeke St., 316: Kidder Wilkes LP to Silver Stone Enterprises LLC, $52,400
Wallace St., 1637 & 1639: J. Shurns to Buonarroti Trust, $118,170
Walnut St., 108, 110 & 112: Vast Holding LLC to E. Etzweiler, $225,000