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Tax bill catches up to value of Whitehall Borough property

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The property-assessment appeal for a smaller-than-20,100-square-foot vacant piece of land purchased by Whitehall Borough in 2012, brought the value back to the right price, officials said.

Whitehall manager James Leventry earlier this year questioned how a property on Provost Road, that borough officials said they purchased in March 2012 for $1,000 in an effort to alleviate an eyesore and improve the area, rose drastically in price after a countywide judge-ordered reassessment.

After officials had demolished the lone structure on the site, the value rose to $59,000, bringing the real-estate tax bill to the borough for 2013 to $277.66. A real-estate tax for 2012 was $28. The site was not yet used for borough purposes and therefore not listed as tax-exempt, officials said at the time.

A neighboring property — once the Provost Auto Wreckers junkyard — that was long considered an eyesore by borough officials, was sold and is being turned into a storage facility. A vacant, dilapidated home, though, remained on an oddly shaped property, which Whitehall officials agreed to purchase in a final effort to clean up the area, they said.

Leventry last week told council members that an appeal to Allegheny County reduced the property value to $1,000. He received a notice on the adjusted value on Sept. 6. This will bring the real-estate tax for the site to $4.73, records show.

Duquesne Light bill

Whitehall officials plan to send a letter to the Public Utility Commission, or PUC, stating borough leaders' objection to a proposed rate change that would bring a possible 10-percent increase in bills for borough residents, council President Glenn Nagy said last week.

Council members, in a 6-0 vote, agreed to send the letter at Nagy's request. Councilwoman Kathy DePuy was absent.

Nagy said he received a notice of the possible rate increase in his monthly bill and was concerned.

“We're not in agreement,” he said.

Duquesne Light filed a base-rate increase request with the PUC in August.

Budget plans

Preparations for Whitehall Borough's 2014 budget once again will be made during Saturday-morning meetings.

Council members at their meeting last week agreed to schedule their budget-planning sessions for 9 a.m. Nov. 9 and 16 at the Whitehall Municipal Building, 100 Borough Park Drive.

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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