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Monroeville site of new UPMC East to provide boost for school district

| Monday, Jan. 16, 2012

UPMC declined to take more than $370,000 in property tax refunds for the past three years on the Monroeville land where it built UPMC East.

The taxes, which UPMC paid while Allegheny County was processing its request to declare the land tax-exempt, includes more than $265,000 for Gateway School District, about $65,000 for the county and $30,000 for Monroeville. The taxes were paid during the past three years.

"Given the extended period of time that had elapsed between the filing of the exemption application in 2009 and the date of the determination (on Dec. 6, 2011), UPMC proactively decided to forgo the refund," said Sean Logan, vice president of the medical giant, which is the region's largest employer.

The Gateway School District has not yet begun to seriously examine its budget for the 2012-13 school year, but the money that UPMC is leaving on the table should provide a one-time boost, said board of school directors president Dave Magill.

"It'll help us with our budget next year, but we'll just have to deal with that hole again in the years after that," Magill said.

UPMC East is a 156-bed, $240 million hospital. Its construction generated controversy because UPMC built the well-appointed, glass-walled structure less than a mile from Forbes Regional Hospital, which is run by rival West Penn Allegheny Health System. The construction came as UPMC shuttered UPMC Braddock.

UPMC and West Penn Allegheny are locked in a bitter competition that drew public ire last year when UPMC announced it would not renew its contract with insurance giant Highmark after Highmark bought West Penn Allegheny.

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