The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 19, 2013

Conemaugh extends ‘in lieu of taxes’ deal

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — A one-year extension has been accepted by all parties involved in Conemaugh Health System’s payment in lieu of taxes arrangement.

Throughout 2013, Conemaugh will contribute $500,000 combined to the city of Johnstown, Cambria County and the Greater Johnstown School District instead of having its property taxed. The breakdown is $202,500 for GJSD, $202,500 for the city and $95,000 for Cambria County.

“We are once again extending our partnership with the city and volunteering financial support to our community, specifically to the city of Johnstown, Greater Johns­town School District and Cambria County,” said Conemaugh Health System CEO Scott Becker. “As a nonprofit, we are keenly aware of how essential community support can be, and as the region’s largest employer we know it is important for us to continue to do our part. In addition to offering this support, the Conemaugh Health System also provides more than $18 million in free charity and uncompensated care.”

The deal is expected to be a temporary continuation of an arrangement that had been in place for five years.

“This year, we’re going to return to the discussion,” said Cambria County President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder.

Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Gerald Zahorchak added, “We’re looking to continue this kind of arrangement. We’re also looking to build on our solid relationship (with Conemaugh).”

City Manager Kristen Denne said Johnstown would like to see an increase in the annual payment.

“We plan on having more in-depth conversations about the types of service calls that we have and the services that the city has to provide to assist EMS and personnel at the hospital,” Denne said.

She added, “I’m optimistic in the future that we’ll be able to work with the hospital administration and come to a fair and equitable compromise.”

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