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Lincoln officials plan to reduce real estate taxes

| Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, 3:21 a.m.

Lincoln officials plan to reduce taxes with next year's budget amid Allegheny County reassessment issues.

Council unanimously voted to advertise its proposed 2014 budget at this month's regular meeting.

“We still do have some appeals out there that may impact the budget,” said borough Solicitor Falco Muscante.

Current millage is 7.5 mills with 1 mill generating approximately $55,000. Proposed tax rate for next year is 6.5 mills, a reduction of 1 mill.

Council president Mark Betzner said not all the figures were in, and had some choice words about county officials.

“As far as I'm concerned it's ridiculous,” he said of the reassessments. “We may end up having to adjust (the budget) again. All we can do is try to be as fair as possible. We will eventually (have better figures) once the county gets done playing around.”

Betzner said assessments went up by 51 percent overall in the borough, and does not know how many appeals have yet to be heard.

He is appealing a reassessment of his property in Forward Township. He said his garage on a one-acre lot was assessed at $127,000, up from $26,000.

“It creates no income. It's basically storage,” said Betzner.

Proposed revenues and expenses are balanced at $645,900.

Revenues include $266,000 in current real estate taxes, $26,000 in delinquent real estate taxes, $18,175 in local enabling taxes, $20,175 in licenses and permits, $7,000 in fines and forfeits, $36,850 in intergovernmental income, $4,500 in general government income, $2,000 in miscellaneous revenues and $147,000 in other financing sources.

Expenses include $7,550 for council, $800 in executive costs, $5,000 for financial administration, $13,600 for tax collection, $14,500 for legal services, $50,400 for clerical, $11,500 for engineering services, $15,700 for municipal building expenses, $231,800 for police protection, $39,800 for fire protection, $3,000 for protective inspections, $600 for planning and zoning, $60,050 for public works, $2,500 for recreation, $133,900 for debt service and $53,700 for miscellaneous expenditures.

If the budget is adopted, this would be the second year the borough reduced taxes due to reassessments.

“We didn't know where we were going to land,” Betzner said. “We had already reduced it prior (to this budget) because of the windfall laws.”

Last year's millage went from 8.55 mils to 7.5 mills.

Council plans on formally adopting next year's spending plan at next month's meeting.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or