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No lower taxes confounds Leet residents

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

Some Leet residents are questioning why the municipality's tax rate wasn't adjusted to compensate for higher Allegheny County property reassessments.

The 2013 tax rate remains at 7 mills, same as 2012, tax bills mailed this week showed.

The assessed value of property in Leet increased about 39 percent, from $92 million in 2012 to about $128 million in 2013, according to Allegheny County data. Elected officials must, under state law, reduce the millage rate so as not to reap a “windfall” from a reassessment.

“Everybody was under the impression that instead of the gigantic windfall, they'd lower the millage,” resident Dan Reeping said of the tax bills property owners began receiving.

Leet's tax rate has been 7 mills since at least 2010.

Reeping said his township tax bill increased about $300 on his 1975-built Colonial style home, which has an assessed value of $186,000, according to county real estate figures.

Leet council President Gary Bradel and Vice President Wayne Hyjek did not return calls seeking comment on Wednesday. Leet manager Anna Lee Oswald and solicitor Richard Start also did not return calls.

Taxing bodies are permitted to collect 5 percent more in revenue compared to the prior year; to collect more than that requires a judge's approval.

Eric Montarti, a policy analyst with the nonprofit Downtown-based Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, said in order to not gain revenue from the assessments, Leet officials would have needed to establish a tax rate of about 4.99 mills.

“The way this process is supposed to work … they need to roll their millage rates back,” Montarti said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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