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East Deer cuts property tax 25%

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By George Guido
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
 

The East Deer commissioners are hoping this year's tax millage rate of 4.5 mills will be adequate to cover the township's $917,000 budget.

Commissioners on Thursday night set the real estate tax rate at 4.5 mills, which is a 25 percent cut from last year's 6-mill rate.

Though the tax rate has dropped, property owners can figure to pay about the same amount of money in real estate taxes as last year because of Allegheny County's reassessment program's equalization process.

The reassessment has caused taxable property values to increase, but municipalities are compelled to set a lower millage rate so the overall property tax revenue can't increase by more than 5 percent.

Another problem is that the county hasn't set a standard property value rate because of a large number of appeals that are still pending.

Municipalities had been waiting to get the final figures from the county, but Allegheny County Judge R. Stanton Wettick set yesterday as the final day for municipalities to set their rates.

“This is still very difficult to do,” said commissioners Chairman Tony Taliani. “But something had to be done because the tax bills go out in the middle of March.”

What has East Deer officials worried is the number of commercial and industrial appeals pending — including the township's largest property owner, Pittsburgh Glass Works.

The county's real estate tax rate dropped 17 percent, but Taliani said he'd rather give East Deer a bigger tax cut, numerically, now.

If the money collected is over what's budgeted, an escrow fund will be set up for tax money to be returned to those property owners who win their assessment appeals.

Code enforcement hire

Commissioners hired Building Inspection Underwriters as the new township code enforcement officer, effective today.

BIU already was the township's building inspector.

Part-time police Officer Dan Glock had handled code enforcement, but he recently took on a new job with Etna Borough.

BIU will be paid on a per-case basis.

For instance, code enforcement inspection fees will be $44, a re-inspection will run $55.

Occupancy fees will also be $55.

New construction fees will have a base rate of $40 for residences and $60 for commercial buildings.

The sign fee will be $25.

The township's contract with BIU is for one year.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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