The Housing Authority of the City of Erie is distributing, this week, the largest amount ever for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the three taxing bodies – the City of Erie, Erie County, and the Erie School District.
The Housing Authority Board approved the three payments on November 27. December is the month in which PILOT checks are traditionally distributed.
The total of these 2017 PILOT payments is $381,574.54. This amount is the highest ever paid by the Housing Authority and is $13,242.95 more than last year’s PILOT payments. The previous all-time high was $368,331.59, made in 2016.
Between 2016 and 2017:
• The amount payable to the City increased $4,153.73 to $141,446.89.
• The School District’s share increased $4,942.09 to $181,715.47.
• The County’s share increased $4,147.13 to $58,412.18.
The record-setting amount is made possible because Housing Authority rental income has been increasing faster than the Authority’s utility expenses.
The Authority’s gas utility expense, for instance, has decreased over the past six years due to the decreased cost of natural gas and decreased consumption because of the Authority’s new high-efficiency furnaces.
The price of electricity has also decreased due to the decrease in the generation cost due primarily to the lower cost of natural gas. These are the two main factors that determine the amount of the PILOT — high occupancy resulting in high rental income and the reduction in utility costs. “We are pleased to be able to increase our contribution to the three taxing bodies,” said Michael R. Fraley, executive director of the Authority. “The Housing Authority is, by state law, exempt from payment of real estate taxes, however, we make these voluntary payments to the taxing bodies for the services they provide to public housing residents,” he said.
“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.”
Each year, since 1941, the Authority has provided voluntary PILOT payments to the City of Erie, Erie County, and the Erie School District. Counting this year’s contribution of $381,574.54, the Authority has paid a total of $8,826,257 in lieu of real estate taxes since 1941.
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 2,163 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 more than 7,500 Erie citizens through its various housing programs.