GREENVILLE Budget proposal has 24% tax boost

Property owners will have to dig a little deeper to meet this year's tax bill.
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Borough council will vote on a revised 2002 budget next week that includes a 24 percent property tax increase, but officials won't know if they'll be allowed to collect it all until later this month.
Council passed an earlier version of the spending plan Dec. 31 that called for a 1.17-mill property tax increase, about a 5 percent rise in taxes.
That's the most the borough was allowed for 2002 because Mercer County changed its property tax assessment ratio from 33 percent to 100 percent of assessed value this year.
Ohio law: By state law, no municipality can raise taxes more than 5 percent after a change in assessment.
However, council knew in December that it was facing a $90,000 revenue shortfall even with the 1.17-mill tax increase, said Councilman Bryan D. Langietti, chairman of council's budget committee.
Council said it might have to ask Mercer County Common Pleas Court for permission to exceed that 5 percent limit, he said.
Council reopened the budget in January and has spent weeks reviewing revenue and spending estimates. It came up with a new version that would add 5 mills to the 1.17-mill increase, bringing the total property tax load for 2002 to 31.47 mills.
Langietti said the budget review showed the borough would be $180,000 short of revenues, not $90,000 as earlier predicted.
Covering shortfall: The additional 5 mills will cover that shortfall, he said, noting that one mill generates about $39,000 in revenue.
However, the county court will have to approve those additional 5 mills, he said.
Council is scheduled to approve the budget Tuesday, but a court hearing on the tax issue won't be held until Feb. 24.
The average residential taxpayer was facing a $19 increase in the original version of the budget. That has now jumped to about $94 a year.

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