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South Hills area municipal officials now focus on assessment appeals

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Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:43 p.m.
 

Assessment appeals continue for many properties in the South Hills, despite Allegheny County releasing final certified values determined through a court-ordered reasessment.

In Baldwin Borough alone, there are roughly 181 undecided property appeals as of Dec. 21, borough Manager John Barrett said. The difference in assessed values for these properties between 2012 and the 2013 reasessed values is $17,043,900, he said.

In Whitehall, also, there are about 200 assessment appeals pending, many of which are commercial, borough Manager James Leventry said.

Allegheny County released final certified numbers to municipalities on Dec. 21, meeting a court order to do so.

Municipalities in Allegheny County now have until Jan. 31 to pass their final budgets for 2013, thanks to an extention granted by Allegheny County Senior Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr.

In Baldwin, property values increased by about 23 percent because of the reasessments, Barrett said. Taxable assessed values in the borough went from $761,313,223 in 2012 to a projected $945,347,160 in 2013, he said.

Municipalities in Allegheny County must change their property tax rate to become “revenue neutral” based on the final certified reassessed values of properties, meaning they will not get any surplus funding from the court-ordered reassessments. However, towns can take a 5-percent “windfall.”

Baldwin Borough officials plan to do just that, Barrett said, noting that the added 5 percent might be needed to pay back pending appeals.

Baldwin Council will vote at its meeting Tuesday to advertise an equalization millage rate, which likely will be between 4.94 and 5.43 mills, Barrett said. Then, another ordinance will be voted on in February to advertise a millage rate with the 5-percent “windfall” added in, borough officials said, noting they are still doing the math to calculate the final numbers.

A special meeting will be needed later in January to allow for the final passage of Baldwin's millage rate and budget, because it must be advertised for 10 days, Barrett said.

Leventry, also, said he is still working to calculate Whitehall's millage rate, where there are no plans to take the 5-percent “windfall.”

Brentwood officials have yet to review the numbers, they said.

Laura Van Wert contributed to this story.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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