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--- Issued December 20, 2011

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie has increased its 2011 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) by 57 percent over 2010.

The Authority has distributed pilot payments totaling $310,537 to the three taxing bodies (City, County, and School District), an increase of $112,342 over 2010. This is the largest PILOT payment in the 73 year history of the Housing Authority.

The large increase was due to the increase in rental income collected and the reduction in utility costs during the 12 months ending September 30, 2011. These are the two main factors that determine the amount of the PILOT. High occupancy and the reduction in utility costs resulted in a windfall benefit for the taxing bodies.

According to Housing Authority Executive Director John Horan, “The Housing Authority is, by state law, exempt from real estate taxes, however, we make these payments to the taxing bodies for the services they provide to public housing residents. Providing financial support to our local governing bodies is the right thing to do even though we are tax exempt. We are limited by federal law as to the amount of the PILOT payments. However, we always pay the maximum amount permitted.”

The Housing Authority delivered a check in the amount of $108,950.83 to Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott. This amount represents the city’s share of the Authority’s 2011 Payment in Lieu of Taxes.

In 2011, the Authority also paid the City $468,391 to support various services and functions, ranging from $400,000 for the C.O.P.P.S. supplementary police patrols in public housing to $68,391 for the City’s code enforcement efforts in neighborhoods surrounding public housing.

The Authority is also helping to soften the budget crunch for Erie County and for the City of Erie School District.

County Executive Barry Grossman received a PILOT check for $51,543.81. This is in addition to the $110,000 paid by the Authority in 2011 for Erie County services in public housing neighborhoods, including Adult and Juvenile Probation, and two Erie County Youth Libraries.

Jay Badams, Superintendent of the Erie School District, received a check for $150,041.02 which represents the Erie School District’s share of the Housing Authority’s 2011 Payment in Lieu of Taxes. The Authority expended another $833,375 in 2011 for education-related services for children and adults, including two adult learning centers, and three after-school and summer recreation centers.

“The Erie School District educates most of the children who live in public housing,” Horan said. “We are pleased to make these contributions to support and reinforce the school district’s efforts to provide quality education for all the citizens of Erie.”

Each year, since 1941, the Authority has provided voluntary P.I.L.O.T. payments to the City of Erie, Erie County, and the Erie School District. Counting this year’s contribution of $310,537 the Authority has paid a total of $6,984,560 in lieu of real estate taxes.

The Housing Authority of the City of Erie exists to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for lower-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, and to foster among the residents served by the Authority economic self-sufficiency and a sense of community and pride in the neighborhoods where they reside. The Authority owns and manages 2,150 quality housing units in the City of Erie for low- and moderate-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. In total the Authority provides affordable housing to over 7,500 Erie citizens through its various housing programs.

For more information, call John Horan at 452-2425.