LAST YEAR, the city reaped more than $500,000 from "payments in lieu of taxes" from for-profit businesses getting tax breaks. Developers like John Westrum, Dyott Street and Berks Street Corp. are a few of the contributors.
Why would a business pay the city voluntarily?
Pennsylvania gives state and local tax breaks to businesses that set up shop in blighted areas known as "Keystone Opportunity Zones."
Christine Bak, an attorney with the city's Law Department, says local government must give approval before businesses get accepted for the breaks. The application process can be difficult, she says.