Share This Page

Bethel Park raises taxes

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Bethel Park School Board adopted a tax increase that amounts to 0.45 mills, to fund a 2013-14 budget that increases spending by nearly $3 million.

School directors on Tuesday passed the spending plan of more than $76 million, although Ron Sustich voted against the millage rate of almost 21.86 mills. Russ Spicuzza and David Amaditiz didn't attend the meeting.

Under the budget, property owners will pay $2,186 for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Sustich objected to spending $255,000 from the district's reserve fund.

“I'm very concerned that we are spending more of our fund balance than we need to,” said Sustich, who attended the meeting via phone. Board President Donna Cook said while tapping financial reserves isn't desirable, fluctuations in expenses could mean none of the balance actually will be used.

The prior year's millage rate was 25.49. Matthew Howard, assistant to the superintendent, said a “revenue neutral” adjustment to that rate that accounts for new Allegheny County property assessments would be about 21.41 mills.

Sustich tried without success to change the rate to about 21.97 mills.

Howard said ongoing assessment appeals and contract negotiations with teachers made budget planning more complicated. Nearly $80 million worth of property still is under appeal.

“All of the big property owners appealed,” Howard said, including South Hills Village and Macy's at the mall.

Salaries, health care costs and state-mandated increases in funding employee pensions accounted for much of the increase in spending, Howard said.

Eric Eisert is a freelance writer.

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.