The new St. John's Commons in Havre de Grace will be giving Harford County a payment in lieu of taxes.
The Harford County Council approved the PILOT agreement with the 40-unit affordable housing project for seniors Tuesday, with minimal objections.
St. John's Commons, on Stokes Street, would pay $175 per unit in lieu of taxes in the first year, $200 per unit the second year, $225 per unit the third year, $250 per unit the fourth year and $275 per unit the fifth year.
In the sixth year, the amount will increase annually at 3 percent per unit, starting July 1, 2016.
County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti said the agreement is similar to an agreement already in place with St. John's Towers, owned by the same organization as St. John's Commons.
Councilman Jim McMahan, however, questioned the proposal Tuesday and said he was concerned the bill would give the county executive too much power to change the agreement, despite assurances from county officials the bill limits what the executive could do.
"I think it is a beautiful building, beautiful site, and I think the mission is well-received," McMahan said, adding: "This is so broad. The county executive could, instead of them paying $7,000 for taxes, he could change this tomorrow."
Council attorney Charles Kearney Jr. said the county executive would not legally be allowed to do that.
Council President Billy Boniface defended the PILOT agreement and St. John's Commons in general.
"I spoke to several of the neighbors and they've been outstanding neighbors to work with," Boniface said of the facility. "They've done a good job working with the community."
McMahan said he nevertheless truly felt the county should re-visit the wording of the agreement in the future.
"It just seems far too loose there," he said.
Councilman Chad Shrodes agreed with Boniface he liked the facility in general.
"The structure blends very successfully with the community," he said.