Upper St. Clair commissioners OK revenue-neutral budget
Upper St. Clair commissioners passed an $18.8 million budget for 2013 that is revenue-neutral compared with last year by lowering property tax rates by 15 percent to account for an anticipated increase in real estate values.
Allegheny County's reassessment is scheduled to take effect next year, which Upper St. Clair finance director August Stache anticipated would raise the total taxable value of the township's real estate by 18 percent.
State law prohibits taxing bodies from collecting more than a 5 percent increase in revenue as a result of reassessments, but Upper St. Clair officials did not want any of the money. To keep property tax revenue about the same as last year, commissioners on Monday lowered the property tax rate from 4.6 mills to 3.9 mills, or $780 a year for a house assessed at $200,000.
“This is a steady-as-you-go budget,” Stache said: No major spending increases, new hires or major cuts.
Commissioners did reduce the expected cost of employee health care, from an anticipated 10 percent jump in costs to a 2.3 percent increase; and included money set aside to develop a neighborhood park on Cook School Road if the school district decides to give the township a piece of land it owns there, he said.
“There's no tax increase of any kind, the Community and Recreation Center is doing great financially, and all township services remain at or above their current levels of service,” said commission President Robert Orchowski. “It's really a testament to how well the manager and staff run the township.”
The vote for the budget was unanimous, though Commissioner Glenn Dandoy had reservations about maintaining the current level of funding to the township library.
Orchowski said library funding remained the same because commissioners thought officials there were making progress with keeping costs down.
The county has not released the final numbers for the reassessment, but Stache said if Upper St. Clair's tax base grows by more than 18 percent the commission will go back and adjust the millage rate down more, to remain revenue-neutral.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625or firstname.lastname@example.org.