Triple Whammy in Monroeville

Taxpayers living in Monroeville have to be upset. Consider that at the end of 2011 Allegheny County raised property taxes 20%. As reassessed values were being finalized the municipality decided to end a two-decade streak of no tax increases by taking one that allowed them 5% of the previous year’s revenue and then got permission from the courts to levy a higher rate. Now comes word that the Gateway School District, which encompasses Monroeville and Pitcarin, might raise its tax rate. Based on the millage rates tabulated on the County Treasurer’s website, school tax increases in the District occurred in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2012.

The District will have to adjust millage rates under Act 1, the same law that governs the degree of annual school tax increases, provides exceptions for going above the index, and even provides for voter referenda because of the countywide reassessment. But homes that saw a big jump in value well ahead of average changes in countywide, municipal, and/or school district aggregate changes could be in for a significant cumulative hike.

The District is grappling with declining enrollment and last year decided to furlough 17 teachers, but 16 of them returned to the District at the start of the school year under a recall agreement and came with the tax hike of 0.83 mills. So what has come up for discussion going into the next fiscal year? Personnel cuts, of course.