Tax rate set in December to stand in Indiana Twp.

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Indiana Township residents might feel as if their property-tax rate is on a roller coaster.

Township supervisors set the rate at 2.95 mills in December.

Township Manager Daniel Anderson last month warned that property reassessments might necessitate another look at the tax rate.

February's valentine was the information that the rate set at the end of last year will stand for 2014.

Some belt-tightening might be required, though.

Supervisor Daniel Taylor asked Anderson if he could create a list of possible areas for budget cuts. Taylor said the supervisors would like to help prioritize the options.

The bumpy financial picture was forced by information coming from Allegheny County.

Anderson provided a historic review of all the properties in the township. In 2013, property in the township was assessed at $639 million. This fall, the county reported an assessed value of $627 million, down $12 million.

Then, at the end of the year, the county certified $622 million because of reassessments, including the Bayer property — formerly the MEDRAD property — on Route 910.

The reduction in the assessed value of that property was the second major hit to the township.

Earlier last year, Concordia of Fox Chapel, also located on Route 910, was taken off the tax rolls. It now is associated with Concordia Lutheran Ministries, a nonprofit organization and therefore tax-exempt. This decrease meant 2013 budgeted revenues took a hit.

However, taxable real estate assessed at $1 million also was added for 2014.

Real-estate-tax revenues were $20,000 short of the 2013 budgeted amount. However, strong totals from the 1-percent sales tax and good results from the earned-income tax last year helped the township balance last year's budget.

As with other communities, work to clear snowy roads and salt purchases have put pressure on the township's budget already this year.

Anderson said past practice has been to reduce summer road maintenance — including paving — if there is a financial need.

Township officials note that even though budgeting real-estate-tax revenue is difficult, Indiana Township's tax rate remains lower than the 2012 level of 3.25 mills.

In 2013, the rate was 2.71 mills and the rate is 2.95 for this year.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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