SUNBURY — Gaudenzia Inc., the largest alcohol and drug treatment program in Pennsylvania and Maryland that plans to open a facility at the Northumberland County South Campus, is seeking tax exemption from the county board of assessment appeals.
During an appeal hearing last week in Sunbury, David Slinger, director of operations for Gaudenzia, and attorney David B. Marateck, legal counsel for the corporation, presented their case as to why the facility should be considered tax exempt.
The board, which is comprised of Northumberland County Commissioners Kym Best, Sam Schiccatano and Richard Shoch, will render a decision by Nov. 15.
Gaudenzia was among 40 properties that were subject to appeal hearings, including 12 that were tax exempt appeals.
During an Aug. 22 special meeting, Coal Township commissioners approved a conditional use request submitted by Gaudenzia to operate the facility near the new county prison in a building formerly occupied by Northwestern Academy.
Gaudenzia will provide detoxification and rehabilitation on a short-term (20 to 45 days) and long-term (90 days) basis as well as outpatient services. The nonprofit corporation is seeking approval to treat up to 72 clients in residential units.
The facility will have 30 employees at the start of operations.
If granted tax exemption, officials from Gaudenzia said they would discuss the possibility of a payment in lieu of taxes.
Gaudenzia’s license from the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is pending for the township site.
All of Gaudenzia’s other facilities, including one in Sunbury, are tax exempt, Slinger said.
The county commissioners entered into a lease agreement for the property with Gaudenzia, creating a lease parcel.
Northumberland County Chief Assessor Tiffany Kaseman previously explained that the lease parcel includes the assessment for 500 Northumberland County Drive.
Even if Gaudenzia is a tax exempt entity, the assessment for the building added to the lease parcel becomes active for taxation, which requires the corporation to file for tax exemption.