Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg and his wife, Carol, have purchased the parish office of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, which is located next to his home on High Street in Milford.
That means the property will return to the Milford Borough tax rolls since it is now a privately owned rather than tax-exempt religious property. In U.S. tax law, churches are considered public charities and so are generally exempt from federal, state, and local income and property taxes.
Osterburg worked with Ed Carlin, the property assets manager with the Diocese of Scranton, to facilitate the purchase. Carlin confirmed that the sale was completed on July 23.
Two sources close to Osterberg said he put a new roof on the garage portion of the building. Osterberg told the Courier that he will provide more information as his plans for the property firm up.
“Osterberg paid in the ballpark of $300,000,” said St. Patrick’s Deacon, Tom Spataro. “Osterberg was generous with his offer, knowing there were issues that had to be resolved. The building needed a new roof replacement a couple of years ago. We didn’t have the funds to renovate everything. We cut down on our base expenses so we didn’t have two properties to renovate.”
Spataro said another property, the parish hall, has been renovated to accommodate offices, non-profits, and events. The borough council has been conducting business there since returning in June to in-person meetings.
“The non-profit community uses the space at no cost,” he said. “We do get some dollars from others who are not non-profits. We utilize existing spaces. So this is a beneficial move for everyone.”
Spataro said the church is looking to meet its future needs. “Covid drastically reduced our funds,” he said. “We are very borderline right now, even with Covid grants that were available. Parishioners did step up and contribute, so we survived coming out of Covid.”
Spataro said the newly renamed parish hall will be called the St. Patrick’s Parish Revitalized Community Center and will serve the entire community.
“It’s in stages of renovation,” he said. “The event room will be remodeled. The addition was revitalized and now houses new parish offices and classroom space.”
Spataro said some people are concerned but should not jump to conclusions. The community is beginning to understand that the center is for them, he said.
Father Joseph Manarchuck and Deacon Spataro serve both St. Patrick’s parishes, in Milford and Matamoras.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include Carol Osterberg’s name as purchaser.
“Osterberg was generous with his offer, knowing there were issues that had to be resolved. The building needed a new roof replacement a couple of years ago. We didn’t have the funds to renovate everything. We cut down on our base expenses so we didn’t have two properties to renovate.” Deacon Tom Spataro