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Unity looks to reinstate per capita tax

Jeff Himler
| Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, 6:21 p.m.
The Unity Township Municipal Building is seen at twilight after a snowstorm on Dec. 14, 2017.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
The Unity Township Municipal Building is seen at twilight after a snowstorm on Dec. 14, 2017.

Unity supervisors are looking to reinstate the township's $5 per capita tax a year after the board eliminated it.

The supervisors Thursday authorized advertising an ordinance that would put the levy back in place in time for August tax notices.

Supervisors Chairman John Mylant said the restored tax should generate about $58,000 annually, which the township wants to tap to help update its municipal building on Beatty County Road.

According to Mylant, improvements likely will be pursued gradually, with climate control the initial priority.

“The first thing we've got to get is a new furnace and air conditioning,” he said, noting the existing heating and cooling systems date from the mid-1970s and are no longer adequate.

“We're not going to be able to survive another winter with the furnace,” he said. “We have space heaters, so we're getting by this year.”

The building's rubber roof also is overdue for replacement, Mylant said.

Unity residents also pay a $10 per capita tax to the Greater Latrobe School District.

When the supervisors voted to eliminate its $5 tax late in 2016, former board member Michael O'Barto termed it a “nuisance tax” and noted Unity relies more heavily on revenue generated through a 1 percent wage tax assessed jointly by the township and the school district.

To help eight local volunteer fire companies meet rising expenses, the supervisors agreed to increase Unity's fire tax from 1 mill to 2 mills — a hike that is expected to add about $20 to the average township property owner's bill.

Mylant said the supervisors are anticipating the arrival next week of the first two of seven large trucks the township has ordered to replace vehicles lost in a Sept. 24 arson that destroyed Unity's public works building. The fire remains under investigation.

Until the replacement trucks arrive, township road crews have been using ones loaned by neighboring municipalities to take care of winter snow removal.

“The crew is making everything work out there,” said Mylant.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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