Board hears arguments over tax-exempt status of Bayfront Sheraton

Local News

ERIE, Pa. — The Erie County Convention Center Authority and the city of Erie both presented their arguments about the tax-exempt status of one of the authority’s two Bayfront hotels.

The city argued it is hurting municipalities while the authority argued Wednesday to uphold the state’s decision for exemption

The city is asking the Erie County Tax Assessment Appeals Board to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Erie Bayfront Sheraton Hotel.

City Solicitor Greg Karle argued that the hotel is a commercial property and should have to pay taxes like all the others. Karle cited the case of the Bay Harbor Marina that was once owned by the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority and was determined to not be subject to tax exemption.

“We are just saying that is irrelevant,” Karle said. “It is unconstitutional. You cannot treat the same properties differently in a county and that is the board’s task to evaluate it and make a determination.”

However, the Convention Center Authority argued that they are not a commercial enterprise and that all the money from the hotel is benefiting the community.

The authority argued the state declared it not to be a taxable piece of property and that needs to be upheld. The board asked both sides to put their arguments in writing before a decision will be made.

The city is also challenging the tax exempt status of the Courtyard Marriot Hotet, which is also owned by the Convention Center Authority.

That hearing is set for Dec. 12.

Board members said they hope to have a decision in both cases by the end of the year.

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