Merger could hike taxes

HOW MUCH DO you pay in municipal property tax?

In Homestead, 10 mills; Whitaker, 9.43; West Homestead, 9.31; Elizabeth, 8; Munhall, 7.75; West Mifflin, 7.27; Pleasant Hills, 6.607; Lincoln, 6.3; East McKeesport, 6.1 and Wilmerding, 6.05. Its 6 each in North Versailles Township, Versailles, Wall and West Elizabeth; Jefferson Hills, 5.63; Dravosburg, 5.315; Port Vue, 5.11; Elizabeth Township , 4.429; Liberty, 4.3; South Versailles Township , 4.2; White Oak, 4.16; and Forward Township, 2.95. Third-class cities have split rates between buildings and vacant lots. Millage for buildings is 4.26 in McKeesport, 1.22 in Clairton and 11.47 in Duquesne. Lots come in at sometimes far higher rates. Added to that, of course, is the school property tax and Allegheny County's 4.69-mill tax which Executive Dan Onorato fears raising because it would decrease Allegheny's

 


competitiveness. However, the uniformity clause of the state constitution requires one tax rate for all within a taxing agency's boundaries, so what happens if county government merges with that of the city of Pittsburgh, whose tax rate is 10.8 mills? The concern that this would shift the city's existing pension and debt obligations to county taxpayers is noted in the report on a merger developed by a panel headed by University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. It urged making the existing city an urban services district to hold the existing debt and retire it and creating a general services district for the rest of the county. However, as Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl want Harrisburg to allow a merger question on nest years ballot, long before a constitutional amendment likely could pass to deal with the uniformity of the two districts, voters may have to decide if regional unity is worth an overnight doubling of their county taxes. Were not sure there's enough pride to swallow with that.

 
 
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