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Whitehall Council Not Expected to Use 5-Percent 'Windfall' Provision

The borough's 2013 budget—available for public review—reflects a millage decrease.

The Whitehall Borough Council is expected to buck a regional trend by not taking advantage of a legal provision that would actually allow borough leaders to collect more in local real estate taxes next year.

The council approved its borough's 2013 budget for public review on Wednesday night—a copy is available at the municipal complex along Borough Park Drive—and while the borough's final millage rate won't be determined until late December at the earliest, it almost certainly will come down from 2012's rate of 5.50 to offset an increase in the average value of Whitehall real estate.

To boot, the Whitehall Council is not expected to adjust its lowered millage rate at the legally allowable 105 percent instead of just 100 percent, which would have brought more real estate tax revenue into the borough while still technically lowering its millage.

As for what Whitehall's final millage rate will be in 2013, that news will have to wait until Allegheny County officials finish making decisions on property value appeals—including ones from Whitehall property owners—stemming from a court-ordered countywide real estate reassessment.

County officials aren't expected to be done doing so until late December, so the Whitehall Council will have to wait until at least then to make a final decision on the borough's 2013 millage rate.

The 5.50 millage set in Whitehall in 2012 was the same that it had been since 2002.

Whitehall's 2013 budget assumes $3.3 million in local real estate tax revenue and in local earned income tax revenue ($6.6 million total). Those sources make up most of an anticipated $8,840,072 in revenue—the same total that is expected to go toward general fund expenses.

The borough is expecting to transfer $834,447 from its fund balance to get to equilibrium, but that transfer still leaves the borough with an estimated $3 million in that fund balance.

Click here for more Whitehall Borough news.

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