Analysts: Monroeville tax-rate increase inevitable
While some residents have criticized Monroeville Council for a 2013 property tax hike, financial specialists who have examined Monroeville's economy say the increase is long overdue.
“Hindsight being what it is, perhaps officials should have been thinking about small property tax increases over the last few years as expenses grew,” said Eric Montarti, a senior policy analyst with the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a local think tank.
Council last week approved a tax-rate increase of 0.547 mills after the property values of many homes already increased as a result of the 2012 county-wide property reassessments.
It has been more than 20 years since Monroeville has raised the property tax rate, while expenses outpaced revenue for more than a decade.
Municipal finance director Susan Werksman said the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 will see a $63 increase this year.
Monroeville had one of the lowest property tax rates in the county last year, while providing in-house services that most municipalities don't offer, such as refuse collection and a dispatch center.
Councilman Steve Duncan said recently that the majority of his constituents have supported maintaining municipal services, “if at all possible.”
The new tax rate could have a bilateral effect on the housing market, Monroeville Realtor Dick Reid said.
While some homeowners might choose to sell, that would, in turn, lower housing prices for home buyers, he said.
“I see a positive and a negative,” Reid said. “Higher taxes could encourage more homes for sale.”
Reid said senior citizens on a fixed income could take a hit as a result of the tax increase.
“Just like the rest of the county, we have a pretty high senior population,” he said. “Some of those seniors certainly will be struggling to pay the taxes.”
State law prohibits municipalities from reaping more than a 5-percent increase in revenue this year from the 2012 reassessments. But council received approval from Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to exceed the cap.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, 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.