Borough Taxes GOING UP!!!

Borough Taxes GOING UP!!!

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Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#1 Jan 30, 2013
Where is the discussion? West Mifflin Borough millage up from 7.27 to 8.02 (nearly 11%) but property assessments are up 40%. Bills coming out soon.....
I Am Yellow

Elizabeth, PA

#2 Jan 30, 2013
Good - get screwed if you are too yellow to protest and appeal.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#3 Jan 30, 2013
Protest to whom? The Counsel does what it wants to do. As to appealing the asessment, that has nothing to do with West Mifflin (the appeals are with the County). I wrote a letter to Chelsa Waqner who indicated that she would review the new millage rates of all SD's and municipalities. What I got back from Wagner was just BS.
State law

Bethel Park, PA

#4 Jan 30, 2013
Poor Boy wrote:
Where is the discussion? West Mifflin Borough millage up from 7.27 to 8.02 (nearly 11%) but property assessments are up 40%. Bills coming out soon.....
I believe there is a State law which limits the amount of real estate tax that a municipality can collect in the year of a reassessment (2013) to five percent of their 2012 real estate tax collections unless they go to the courts with a good reason.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#5 Jan 30, 2013
State law wrote:
<quoted text>
I believe there is a State law which limits the amount of real estate tax that a municipality can collect in the year of a reassessment (2013) to five percent of their 2012 real estate tax collections unless they go to the courts with a good reason.
You are absolutely correct. West Mifflin is likely in the process or has already completed the process of getting court approval. I am assuming that it would be a slam dunk to get that approval unless there were challenges to the tax increase. Since this tax increase was passed by Council without anyone knowing, except those who were at the meeting (it has NEVER been made public), it is hard to believe that a challenge was ever made. I was hoping that Ms. Wagner, the County Controller, would have been willing to challenge the increase but she is all politics with no substance (she had her secretary answer my correspondance). Therefore, the Borough will be raking in $1-$2 million EXTRA that will (hopefully) be put aside for commercial valuations that are in appeal (particularly but not limited to, the Century III mall whose reassessment is $100 million+ above the assessment that was agreed upon two years ago). With that, the tax increase implies that after all the commercial appeals are settled, West Mifflin actually expects total assessments to be BELOW the prior assessments, even though residential assessments, which have substantially all been settled,are 14% ABOVE the prior assessments. It smells a little rotten, to me but I am just a retired individual with absolutely no political pull.
Nope

West Mifflin, PA

#6 Jan 31, 2013
West Mifflin council absolutely is not requesting of the courts, an increae above 5%.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#7 Jan 31, 2013
Nope wrote:
West Mifflin council absolutely is not requesting of the courts, an increae above 5%.
And you know this for a fact?
Get this...my estimate (based on approximate data from the aggegate values of the prior assessments compared to the aggregate values of the new assessments) ACTUALLY indicate that West Mifflin will take in $4 million MORE in revenue or an increase of NOT 11% but a WHOPPING 57% INCREASE (I originally stated $1-$2 million more, which was way too low)! I just don't know where to go on this; it is a total injustice!
COUNCILMAN

Pittsburgh, PA

#8 Feb 1, 2013
Your math is incredibly incorrect!!
Nope

Pittsburgh, PA

#9 Feb 1, 2013
Poor Boy wrote:
<quoted text>
And you know this for a fact?
Get this...my estimate (based on approximate data from the aggegate values of the prior assessments compared to the aggregate values of the new assessments) ACTUALLY indicate that West Mifflin will take in $4 million MORE in revenue or an increase of NOT 11% but a WHOPPING 57% INCREASE (I originally stated $1-$2 million more, which was way too low)! I just don't know where to go on this; it is a total injustice!
What you do not know, and what most do not know, is that there still remains a large number of commercial real estate appeals that are not final and will not be for a while. So...rather than under estimate revenue based on un reliable real estate values at this time...council chose to ensure we had enough revenue to cover expenses for the year. Rather than over estimate revenues nad then come to find out in October we are out of money....council chose to do a 3/4 mill increae..based on last years real estate values. Once current commercial appeals are settled...and council knows for certain what values will be...the real estate millage will be adjusted accordingly. Now with all that said...all one has to do is either attend meetings and ask questions or privately ask a council member or the mayor what your conerns or questions are...rather than assume. I am confident any council person and the mayor will address any concern you have.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#11 Feb 2, 2013
Nope wrote:
<quoted text>
What you do not know, and what most do not know, is that there still remains a large number of commercial real estate appeals that are not final and will not be for a while. So...rather than under estimate revenue based on un reliable real estate values at this time...council chose to ensure we had enough revenue to cover expenses for the year. Rather than over estimate revenues nad then come to find out in October we are out of money....council chose to do a 3/4 mill increae..based on last years real estate values. Once current commercial appeals are settled...and council knows for certain what values will be...the real estate millage will be adjusted accordingly. Now with all that said...all one has to do is either attend meetings and ask questions or privately ask a council member or the mayor what your conerns or questions are...rather than assume. I am confident any council person and the mayor will address any concern you have.
Obviously this has gotten the attention of WM Council and that is good.
I certainly DO understand the math and I DO understand that there are a lot of commercial appeals still open. If you read my prior posts, you would see that. What I DON'T understand is WHY one needs to attend meetings or ask a council person for something that SHOULD BE TRANSPARENT. Why has this NOT been in any of the newpapers? Why is this NOT being communicated to ALL taxpayers? You darn well know that there are many property owners who received higher assessments and the increase in the millage WILL HURT THEM more than just the 11% rise in millage. Furthermore, there is still a 14% increase in residential assessments that should cushion the drop, after appeals, in commercial assessments. It was stated in a December article in one of the newspapers that the Borough was successful in over 90% of the residential appeals; why would they not be substantially successful in the remaining open residential appeals?
I undestand that the Borough needs to ante up on needed services and I have no problem with the Borough taking in higher revenue for that. However, unless you believe commercial assessments after appeal are going to go BELOW the assessments before reassessment (HIGHLY UNLIKELY), than raising the millage 11% is NOT JUSTIFIED!
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#12 Feb 2, 2013
One last thing...I don't mean to be disrespectful. I just believe that if the Borough is setting up a significant contingency reserve that is being funded by taxpayers, than all taxpayers should be aware of that. An ongoing public accounting of that reserve is HIGHLY recommended.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#13 Feb 2, 2013
Just noticed this....."council chose to do a 3/4 mill increase..based on last years real estate values." Does that mean if someone owns a home previously valued at $100,000 and it was reasessed at $120,000, the 8.02 millage would be set on the prior $100,000 valuation? I could see that as getting around the court approval AND actually setting up a contingency reserve. If this is legal, than I have few, if any, issues with it. It makes a lot more sense.....
Nope

West Mifflin, PA

#14 Feb 3, 2013
Poor Boy wrote:
Just noticed this....."council chose to do a 3/4 mill increase..based on last years real estate values." Does that mean if someone owns a home previously valued at $100,000 and it was reasessed at $120,000, the 8.02 millage would be set on the prior $100,000 valuation? I could see that as getting around the court approval AND actually setting up a contingency reserve. If this is legal, than I have few, if any, issues with it. It makes a lot more sense.....
We should all know by now not to believe what is read in the papers. Especially the Daily News. The Borough has not and will not challenge or appeal any residential...single family home appeals asked for by the homeowner. The County sets real estate tax values....we all know that. The 2013 budget presented a challenge due to the fact that the county is so far behind in commercial appeals. So....council, by law is required to pass an operating budget and a millage ordinance each by set periods of time. The initial reassessment figures set out by the county set the WM real estate values quite a bit higher than 2012. But 2013 values are expected to be higher that 2012. How higher is not known....what is known are what the real estate tax values for 2012 were and what revenue was brought in. With this said....it was expected and is happening that there are a high number of high value commercial appeals, leaving the exact 2013 real estate values basically unknown pending the outcomes of appeals and challenges. Council and mayor decided to be conservative when estimating real estate tax revenue for 2013 by using known values for 2012. If a budget was done using the original 2013 reassessed values put out by the County...then appeals were done ultimately lowering those values the Borough would be in a bad way revenue wise towards the end of the year. So 2013 budget real estate tax revenues were done conservatively so to avoid this situation. Now the council and mayor chose to bring back public works workers laid off an expense...chose to hire police officers an expense.....start paving streets again...an expense. Institute a public works vehicle replacement program....an expense. In order to expend these funds as stated.....and operate the other departments and services.....using the 2012 real estate tax revenue values...it required a 3/4 mill increase to have a balanced budget passed as required by law. Now what happens when the 2013 appeals and challenges are resolved.....the borough will most likely have a surplus of real estate tax revenues. The 2014 tax millage will then be adjusted accordingly to be in compliance with the law of anti windfalls post reassessment year. Now all this could mean nothing because of a new lawsuit filed by some in the county once again challenging the reassessment process again. When doing the budget is better to go with the known...2012 revenues as opposed to the unknown 2013 values then scrambling at the end of the year to make ends meet. To answer specifically the question regarding the taxes on 100,000 versus 120,000....the tax millage increase would be based on the latter number....and yes any excess funds are placed in to a reserve account to pay back any appeals that would be needed to. Hope this helped.
GM Man

Pittsburgh, PA

#15 Feb 4, 2013
Thank-you "nope" for a very good job of explaining this situation. Some people on here enjoy complaining and distorting any situation to fit their complaints.
hammer time

West Mifflin, PA

#16 Feb 4, 2013
once they are in office,,,all is OK but once voted out they hold a grudge,,,,,,,,like they know it all.....ive seen it over and over and over..........dont blame the people who took your place blame the folks that voted you out,,,,,
like hitting your thumb with a hammer then blaming the hammer.,,,,,,,,poor souls,,,,,,,,,,
Nope

West Mifflin, PA

#17 Feb 4, 2013
GM Man wrote:
Thank-you "nope" for a very good job of explaining this situation. Some people on here enjoy complaining and distorting any situation to fit their complaints.
You are welcome......
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#18 Feb 4, 2013
Nope and Councilman: I thank you too for explaining but, nevertheless, I already know what you are explaining. I am writing for all of the WM residents, many of whom are going to have sticker shock when they get their tax bills with absolutely NO explantation of why. What about that restuarant (example only) whose prior value is $500,000 and now its $1,000,000. His borough taxes will rise from $3,600 to $8,200, with an IOU that he does not even know about that someday, perhaps (and likely) in 2014 his taxes will likely go down a few dollars from the 2013 amount. My biggest complaint is the fact that there is NO explanation of this on the WM website, nor is it likely that an explanation will be coming with the tax bills. Do you all understand that you may be swamped with phone calls in a week or two? An aside...is the 2013 budget viewable and if it is, where can I go to view it? Again, thank you for your responses and a request that you consider putting an explanation on the WM website.
Poor Boy

Mckeesport, PA

#19 Feb 4, 2013
BTW: just found this under "Anti-WindFall Issues," published by the PBI:"A unique feature is the ability to consider the five year average for assessment appeals as part of the calculation. Allegheny County municipalities can petition the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County for relief from these requirements. In fact, several municipalities sought and received court permission
to exceed the 5% limitation in December 2011 when it appeared that the assessment was
going to be used in January 2012. Finally, the Legislature has permitted a refund option in the
event that a municipality miscalculates its tax rate and violates this section." This most certainly applies to WM, which has had its share of commercial appeals during the past five years. Thanks again!
please note

West Mifflin, PA

#20 Feb 4, 2013
GM Man wrote:
Thank-you "nope" for a very good job of explaining this situation. Some people on here enjoy complaining and distorting any situation to fit their complaints.
The school district said they will not appeal any residential properties, Council has not said any such thing just the school district
Nope

West Mifflin, PA

#21 Feb 4, 2013
Poor Boy wrote:
Nope and Councilman: I thank you too for explaining but, nevertheless, I already know what you are explaining. I am writing for all of the WM residents, many of whom are going to have sticker shock when they get their tax bills with absolutely NO explantation of why. What about that restuarant (example only) whose prior value is $500,000 and now its $1,000,000. His borough taxes will rise from $3,600 to $8,200, with an IOU that he does not even know about that someday, perhaps (and likely) in 2014 his taxes will likely go down a few dollars from the 2013 amount. My biggest complaint is the fact that there is NO explanation of this on the WM website, nor is it likely that an explanation will be coming with the tax bills. Do you all understand that you may be swamped with phone calls in a week or two? An aside...is the 2013 budget viewable and if it is, where can I go to view it? Again, thank you for your responses and a request that you consider putting an explanation on the WM website.
Phone calls are welcomed.....and the budget has been on public display in borough office for some time as required....and still is.

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