Lawrenceville group debates property tax for neighborhood improvements
Most Lawrenceville property owners attending a public hearing Thursday back a property tax that would fund improvements to the business district along Butler Street and Penn Avenue.
Opponents said the tax would penalize larger property owners and called improvements the tax would cover “picayune,” or paltry.
“We have maintained our own sidewalks. We have taken away litter. I pay for my own snow removal,” said Richard Goeller, owner of Goeller Generator Inc. at 3601 Butler St. “I think it's unfair for owners of large frontage to bear the brunt of this fee.”
Under the plan spearheaded by the Lawrenceville Corp. community development group, property owners in the business district — Butler between 34th and 57th streets and Penn between 40th and 45th streets — would pay $10 annually for each linear foot of frontage.
If the development group decides to move forward, those same property owners would vote on the tax. If 40 percent or more oppose, the measure would fail.
The tax would pay for such things as sidewalk repair, street cleaning and landscaping. It also could be used to leverage public and private grants for further improvements. Backers expect the tax would generate $174,400 in the first year.
Ronald Jardini, who owns a rental building at 3401 Butler St., said Lawrenceville has changed for the better over 40 years and the improvement district would help continue that trend. He said the tax would cost him about $1,600 annually.
“Sometimes you have to spend money to make money,” he said.
Matthew Galluzzo, executive director of Lawrenceville Corp., said the business district is an economic tool.
“This is for building owners and businesses to attract and retain tenants who want to plant their roots here and customers who want to come to the district,” he said.
State law permits communities to set up business improvement districts as taxing bodies. Such areas exist Downtown and in Oakland.
A proposed neighborhood improvement district failed this year in the South Side because of extensive opposition. It would have taxed residents in addition to business owners.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
- Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Surgeon to examine Pirates’ Cumpton after experiencing elbow discomfort
- On remote Japanese island, cats outnumber humans
- Frazer police receive state funding for more undercover patrols at Mills
- Pittsburgh’s Downtown tops ranking of small to midsized cities
- Rangers up ante in Metropolitan Division with trade acquisitions
- Pirates special instructor Tekulve taking second chance to heart
- Zoning update raises fears in Ligonier Township