Clairton millage reduced, tax bills could go up
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 2:26 a.m.
Clairton City School District residents are expected to see a reduction in their real estate tax rates, but may pay a higher bill because of Allegheny County reassessments.
School directors unanimously approved a preliminary budget at Wednesday night's meeting with a millage rate of 75.4 mills for land and 7.5 mills for buildings. It reflects reductions of 4.6 mills for land from the current 80-mill rate, and no change for buildings.
Proposed revenue is listed at $14,296,146 with expenses at $14,490,407, leaving a $194,261 shortfall. The district is filling the financial hole with money from its $526,001 fund balance.
District business manager Chuck Lanna said residents should focus on their property assessments and not just the millage rate when it comes to factoring their tax bills.
“The single biggest factor as to whether it's going to be higher or lower is not the millage rate, it's going to be the assessed value,” Lanna said. “If someone's assessed value went up by more than 25 percent, and a lot of people's did, their total tax bill is going to go up. If their assessed value went up by less than 25 percent, chances are it is going to go down ... If someone gets an 80 percent increase in their assessed value, no matter what you do with millage rates, their taxes are going to go up because their assessed value went up so much.”
Lanna said the total assessed value of the district's 5,000-plus taxable properties went up by roughly 23 percent.
Lanna said the district hopes to get updated figures from the county prior to the budget's scheduled final adoption on June 25.
He anticipates a slight reduction in millage for buildings, and setting 77 mills for land at that time.
School board president Richard Livingston said the district may need to look into reopening the budget or seek some form of relief through Allegheny County courts should the county figures and millage rates prove troublesome.
“I don't want to pass a budget that we're requiring a millage rate, and that millage rate is not going to cover the bills we have,” Livingston said.
Lanna said there are “strict limitations” on reopening a budget.
One significant assessment decrease currently being appealed is that of U.S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works plant.
Livingston said its assessment dropped from $14.5 million to $2.5 million, changing the payment to the district from $360,000 to $20,000.
The district hired Ira Weiss earlier this year as special counsel for the appeal, and to perform an appraisal of the U.S. Steel property.
Tax bills will be sent out the first week of July.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- Army band Volunteers to rock Palisades stage
- McKeesport mayor answers critics of emergency timing
- Restaurant owner says he’s buying McKeesport’s Lemon Tree building
- Wall landmark may be demolished
- McKeesport traffic stop leads to ‘upper-level’ drug arrest
- West Elizabeth mayor tenders resignation
- McKeesport council OKs memorial ordinance
- Biology students learn about genetics through fruit fly project
- McKeesport lifts state of emergency
- West Mifflin park, Ryan Hacke Memorial Playground to benefit from ‘Heart’ program