At their most recent meeting, the Bradford County commissioners approved a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for Trehab's planned $11 million development project in downtown Towanda, and also announced that the county has started to receive gas royalty payments.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Trehab Center's proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement, under which Trehab would pay a PILOT for 15 years on the $6 million building it would build in the 400 block of Main Street.

The building would have elderly housing on its upper floors and commercial space on its ground floor.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said he was motivated to vote for the PILOT due to the waiting lists that exist for housing for the elderly in the county.

The waiting list for housing for the elderly at the Bradford County Housing Authority's facilities is a minimum of 6 to 12 months, Bill Farley, executive director of the local Area Agency on Aging, said in an interview on Friday.

And the waiting list in the area for Section 8 housing, which is used by low-income people of all ages, is approximately three to five years, he said.

"We appreciate what Mr. McLinko has done," Farley said.

The PILOT would be equivalent to 50 percent of the property taxes that would be owed on the property, if the property were fully taxable.

Based on the 2012 millage rates, the building, if fully taxable, would generate $87,272 in property taxes annually, so the PILOT would be approximately $43,600 annually.

The Towanda School District's share of the $43,600 PILOT would be $26,110; the county's share would be $7,291, and the borough's share would be $10,250.

There would also be a $5 million parking garage built on the site that would not be taxable, as it would be owned by the borough or a parking authority.

The Towanda Borough Council has already approved the PILOT agreement, but the Towanda Area School Board has not yet voted on it.

The county received its first royalty check this month on its gas lease, said Joan Sanderson, Bradford County fiscal director.

"The check was for $3,100, I believe," she said.

However, the royalties are being paid on only a small part of the total amount of county-owned land that is included in the lease, Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said.

"I think it (the area on which gas royalties are being paid) is part of Mt. Pisgah County Park," Sanderson said. "It's a very small part of the park (that is generating royalty payments for the county)."

No gas wells have been drilled in the park.

The commissioners on Thursday also renewed an agreement with Dr. Joseph Cama of Towanda to provide and coordinate the medical services at the Bradford County Correctional Facility at a fee of $6,800 per month. The agreement is effective from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.