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North Hills

No tax hike for 2019 in McCandless, rate will remain 2nd lowest in Allegheny County

Tony LaRussa
| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

McCandless’ proposed 2019 budget keeps the town’s rock-bottom property-tax rate at its current level and is balanced with a blend of money left over from this year and spending cuts.

Like this year, McCandless will again be among the three North Hills communities with the lowest real-estate tax rates in Allegheny County.

The lowest rate in the county in 2018 is Pine Township followed by McCandless and Franklin Park. All three communities have 2019 proposed budgets, which must be balanced and adopted by the end of the year, that leave the tax rate unchanged.

McCandless manager Toby Cordek said the goal for next year was not to burden town residents with any additional taxes.

“The charge the administration was given by council earlier this year was to see if there were any additional savings we could achieve in the way we budget for this coming year,” Cordek said.

The manager said a line-item review of 27 municipal accounts resulted in cuts to 16 of them and a savings of $200,000 “without sacrificing the quality of services we provide.”

The more than $18.89 million spending plan, which is 3.6 percent higher than this year’s, anticipates about $9.4 million in revenue from a mix of business privilege, wage and other taxes. The single largest generator of revenue among those levies is the 0.5 percent earned income tax, which is expected to bring in about $5.9 million.

Nearly $3.2 million is expected to be generated by the 1.236-mill property tax, and a little less than $3.3 million in unspent money from this year will be carried into 2019.

The town also anticipates receiving about $2.6 million from sources including licenses, permits and fees; grants and reimbursements; and the municipality’s share of the state liquid fuel tax, which includes the taxes motorists pay on gasoline.

The unchanged real estate tax rate means property owners in McCandless will continue to pay a little more than $1.24 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, or $248 a year for a home valued at $200,000 to fund municipal operations. All other taxes also will be levied at the same rate next year.

As in previous years, the largest appropriation — more than $7.44 million or 39 percent of the budget — is earmarked for public safety, which includes police protection, subsidies paid to the volunteer fire services and funding the zoning, building inspection and code enforcement departments.

Other major spending categories include more than $3.82 million, or 20 percent of the budget, for public works; $1.8 million, or 9.6 percent, for general government administration; and more than $1 million, or 5.4 percent, for recreation and culture.

In addition to the unspent money carried over to balance the budget, the town will transfer more than $1.42 million leftover from this year into the capital improvement funds to pay for road paving and stormwater management.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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