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Dump truck purchase to drive township tax hike

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Tax details

The median assessed value on a house in Springdale Township is $74,600, according to officials.

Here's what the 2014 tax bill would look like for such a property:

Current tax rate: 5 mills

Proposed tax rate: 5.5 mills

Current tax bill: $373

Proposed tax bill: $410

Increase: $37

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By George Guido
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 1:26 a.m.
 

Real estate taxes are set to rise by about 10 percent in Springdale Township next year.

That means that the property tax will go up for the average taxpayer by $37 in 2014.

The township's preliminary budget of nearly $719,000 will be partially funded with a tax hike, from 5 mills to 5.5 mills.

Officials cited the need to buy a one-ton dump truck for the township's public works department as the main reason for the hike.

The $46,500 truck will be ordered on Friday but paid for when the new budget kicks in on Jan. 1.

The truck will be bought through Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments.

The township commissioners are expected to give final approval to next year's budget on Dec. 19.

Property taxes were lowered from 5.5 mills to 5 mills last year because of the Allegheny County property reassessment that raised property values.

Municipalities then had to lower millage in order not to violate anti-windfall regulations.

Sewer tap-in fees drop

Residents affected by the Melzina/Adeline Street sewerage extension got some good news Thursday night.

Officials said each property will pay a $10,605 fee for tap-in plus a type of pump station that grinds material before sending it to the main sewage line.

The initial price tag was about $16,700 per household, but a design change reduced the overall cost of the $391,000 project. A $200,000 County Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant will pay for more than half the cost.

The design change reduced the total cost for residents by nearly $30,000 to about $191,000. Residents praised Township Secretary Dawn Biery for her efforts in cutting the per-household cost.

The 18 sewage customers can pay the fee in one lump sum or make payment arrangements.

Residents questioned the two-year warranty on the pump stations because the warranty clock begins once the stations are sent by the manufacturer. The pump stations aren't scheduled to be installed until spring.

Township Engineer Richard Knapek will check with project contractor Independent Enterprises to see if an adjustment could be made.

Commissioner Henrietta James said the township will continue to pursue grants to further reduce the cost.

Officials said the need for the project was determined in the 1970s when Allegheny County Commissioners Thomas Foerster and Leonard Staisey first sought funding.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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