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Amusement Tax Deal Announced

Settlement of Long-Running Battle?

The long-running “amusement tax” battle between Derry Township, Derry Township School District and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company has taken a major step toward settlement with a reported agreement to increase the amount of money going to the township and the school district.

The Sun has obtained a copy of the official announcement, expected to be released later today:

Amusement Tax Agreement Amended

(Hershey, PA – December 11, 2012) The Derry Township School District, The Township of Derry Board of Supervisors and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) announced today that the organizations have agreed to increase the Amusement Tax amount charged for HE&R owned or operated ticketed amusements in the Township by approximately 13%. Based on current attendance projections for 2012, HE&R’s proposed increase would result in an estimated $320,000.00 (three hundred and twenty thousand dollars) of additional Amusement Tax revenue to be split equally between Derry Township and the School District.

“We welcomed the opportunity to establish a new era of cooperation with the Derry Township School District and Derry Township through these discussions,” said Ted J. Kleisner, Chief Executive Officer of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. “Over the past several months of meeting with these entities, it became clear that there was a common desire to work together in the best interests of this community.”

This is the second amendment to the historic fifty-year Amusement Tax Agreement, which established the amount of amusement tax to be collected and remitted by HE&R for ticketed amusements it owns or operates in Derry Township. The original Agreement commenced on July 1, 1998.

“The bridge we’ve begun to build to an enhanced relationship only serves to ultimately benefit the students, residents and community of Derry Township,” continued Kleisner. “Make no mistake; we are quite fortunate to have both a world class public educational system and a responsive and effective municipal government here, in Hershey. It’s in our own best interest to help keep them healthy and vital, while also maintaining the strength of our own company for the benefit of the Milton Hershey School.”

The parties entered into a series of meetings in 2008 – the tenth anniversary of the Agreement – which resulted in the first amendment to the Agreement. The first amendment provided that the parties could request a meeting to discuss any modifications to the Agreement at any time, instead of having to wait every 10 years to reopen discussions.

This second amendment is the end result of months of dialogue, during which the three parties discussed their individual positions, the impact of the current economic climate on their budgets and the increased pressure of incremental funding demands.

“This amendment was intended to address the growing needs and challenges faced by the Derry Township municipality and school district,” said Christopher Abruzzo, Chairman of the Derry Township Board of Supervisors. “The process was handled professionally and respectfully, demonstrating what can be accomplished through good working relationships and trust between the three principles. While we are all aware of some of the challenges associated with being a tourism destination, residents are sometimes unaware of the many contributions made to our community by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. Our small businesses and taxpayers derive significant benefits from the economic engine that tourism provides to our area. The relationship between the three entities has never been stronger and that is good for our community," said Abruzzo.

Through an amendment to the existing Amusement Tax Agreement, the amusement tax will increase from the lesser of $.75 cents or 10% per paid admission currently remitted to the lesser of $.85 cents or 10% per paid admission.

The increase will take effect in January 1, 2013.

“Milton Hershey’s legacy extends far beyond the businesses he built and continues to strengthen the community he created. He clearly understood the value of collaboration. This amended agreement reflects his vision of working together for a greater, combined good. Strong schools strengthen communities which, in turn, empower businesses. These relationships will only continue to grow in a very positive way moving forward,” said Dr. Richard Faidley, Superintendent of Derry Township School District.

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts and its subsidiaries own and/or operate the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club, Giant Center, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, Hershey Highmeadow Campground, Hershey Golf Collection, Hershey Nursery, and Hershey Laundry.

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is proud to help fulfill the dream of our mutual founder, Milton S. Hershey, by supporting Milton Hershey School, the largest home and school in the world, as it continues to provide opportunities for children in need. www.mhskids.org

For more information about Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, visit www.HersheyPA.com.

Derry Township School District is an award-winning public school system located in Hershey, PA. The district serves approximately 3,600 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade residing in Derry Township. The 114-acre campus hosts five schools. All of our schools have exemplary facilities, curriculum, faculty, administrators, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs. Annually more than 90% of our graduating seniors pursue post-secondary education.

The Township of Derry, Hershey, Pennsylvania, established in 1729, is committed to providing the utmost in public service to the residents, business owners, and guests of the Township. It is our goal as local government to be conscientious of the needs of our public, to foster a community that is safe, clean, service-oriented, and focused on family values, in a fiscally responsible and cost effective manner.

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