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Pittsburgh school board drops property tax rate by 30 percent

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 7:12 a.m.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools Board voted to lower its property tax rate by 30 percent on Wednesday night, although board members aren't sure exactly how much money that will generate for the district.

The tax rate will drop from 13.92 mills to 9.65 mills for 2013 as the district adjusts to Allegheny County's controversial wave of property reassessments, said district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh. Under state law, the district is not allowed to profit from increased property values after a reassessment.

However, the new millage rate includes an increase of 0.16 mills, or 1.7 percent, the maximum increase allowed by state law.

Pugh said the board included the increase because of the uncertainty created by pending appeals of the reassessment that could raise or lower property values in the district. The 1.7 percent hike will create a $3.2 million reserve fund that could be used as a cushion if some assessments are lowered on appeal, she said.

The district's 2013 general fund budget was set last month at $521.8 million.

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