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Greensburg Council to vote on tax-assessment discount

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Greensburg City Council will vote next week on whether to take about $4,900 less as part of a tax-assessment settlement, but get that payment in one, rather than 24, installments.

During a meeting on Tuesday, city solicitor Bernard McArdle told council that attorneys for Columbia Greensburg SPE, owner of the state office building on North Main Street, requested a 5 percent discount and the change to one payment totaling $94,869.

Under the previous arrangement, Columbia agreed as part of a tax-appeal settlement to pay a total $99,862 to the city in 24 payments of $4,160.

On Monday, Council is expected to vote on the proposal and grant Columbia the involved discount.

Also up for a vote is the 2013 budget, which council members said calls for no increase in real estate taxes.

McArdle said he views the proposed 5 percent discount as reasonable because the payment is being made in a lump sum.

“It will help the city's budget this year,” he added.

Councilmen Rob DePasquale, director of accounts and finance, and Randy Finfrock agreed with McArdle's assessment.

The Greensburg Salem School District appealed Columbia's property assessment in 2009 in Westmoreland County Court.

The school district, county and city then reached the settlement with Columbia over the state office building and an adjoining parking lot.

Under the settlement, officials have assessed the building and lot at about $2 million for 2013, $2.1 million for 2012, $2.3 million for 2011 and $2.4 million for 2009 and 2010.

The county assessment board had previously assessed the properties at $1.3 million for each of the five years.

It could not be immediately determined on Tuesday whether Columbia had asked the school district and county for a different payment arrangement.

In another matter, council will vote on Monday to pay $590 to The Verdin Co. for maintenance of the Victorian clock in Courthouse Square.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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