As required by state law because of an overall increased in property values, both the Pittsburgh Public Schools has voted to reduce property tax millage rates by about 30 percent for calendar 2013.
Pittsburgh Public Schools Wednesday night unanimously approved reducing the property tax millage rate from 13.92 mills to 9.65 mills, which is about a 30 percent reduction.
Whether the taxes of an individual property owner will go up depends on the how the property fared in the countywide reassessment. Overall, property values in the city went up 48 percent. If the value of a particular property went up more than that, taxes will increase. Taxes will decrease if the value went up less than that.
One mill amounts to $1 of tax on each $1,000 of taxable assessed property value.
In addition to the tax rate, the board increased the homestead and farmstead exemption from $19,937 in 2012 to $28,685 in 2013. This applies in certain cases, such as owner-occupied homes, in which taxpayers are exempt from property taxes on that portion of their property value.
State gaming revenue provides funds for the school district -- which includes Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver -- for the exemption, but the increase primarily is the result of the change in property values, not increased gaming revenue.
By law, neither the city nor the school district can reap a windfall by the overall increase in property values. Thus, millage had to be lowered.
Pittsburgh Public Schools officials calculated a "revenue neutral" rate on the values of existing property and then added 1.7 percent, which is permitted under what is known as the Act 1 index.
This money is intended to create a fund of about $3.2 million to cover pending assessment appeals. District officials estimate such appeals could cost as much as $3.6 million. Given the school district's budget already is in a deficit, officials wanted to cushion the blow with the fund.
Education writer Eleanor Chute: email@example.com or 412-263-1955.