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Richland reduces property tax rate to avoid windfall of extra revenue

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Pine Creek Journal
The vintage Pittsburgh Cut Flowers sign that had hung out in front of the packing house will be hung in the top floor of the Northern Tier Regional Library over the office doors located near the check out desk. Submitted

Richland supervisors have reduced the township's property tax rate from 2.75 to 2.2 mills to avoid collecting a windfall of extra revenue in the wake of countywide property reassessments.

“It represents a 20 percent reduction of the 2012 real estate (property tax) rate,” said Dean Bastianini, township manager.

The supervisors approved the new millage on Jan. 23.

The new millage translates into a $335 tax bill for 2013 — compared to a $419 tax bill for 2012 — on a home valued at $152,250, the median value of a home in Richland, according to Allegheny County records.

State law prohibits municipalities from collecting more than 5 percent in additional property tax revenue generated by increases in the assessed values of a municipality's residential and commercial properties.

All residential and commercial properties in Allegheny County were reassessed in 2012. But many property owners appealed their properties' reassessed values.

“We wanted to reduce the millage and comply with the anti-windfall provisions of the law, but there are still 200 (property assessment) appeals that are unresolved,” Bastianini said.

“If we set the millage to be completely revenue neutral, and those appeals are successful, we could end up underestimating the real estate tax and having to either amend the rate before the tax bills go out, or adjust the rate in the future,” Bastianini said.

“We thought the 2.2 mills would be safely below the 5 percent windfall and also would provide us with a cushion in the event that the (township's total) assessed valuation is decreased as a result of successful appeals,” Bastianini said.

“Most of the appeals that are outstanding are the large commercial properties, so they can be very significant.”

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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