NEW CASTLE Reassessment cuts tax share

A cut in federal funding will affect police battle against drug trafficking.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Countywide reassessment has primarily accomplished what New Castle officials had hoped.
John DiMuccio, city business administrator, reviewed for city council Tuesday the preliminary fair market values set by Manatron Sabre Systems as part of the reassessment and noted that the share of Lawrence County taxes paid by city residents should decrease by about 20 percent.
City officials threatened the county with a lawsuit to force a countywide reassessment, contending city residents were taking on a bigger tax burden. City and county officials eventually came to an agreement to have the county's first reassessment since 1963.
DiMuccio, however, said some values set by Sabre Systems aren't perfect. Homes and businesses in the city's North Hill and the Croton areas appear to be high.
"I would encourage anybody who thinks they've been overassessed to file an appeal," DiMuccio said.
Anti-drug program: Mayor Timothy Fulkerson encouraged council to pass a resolution explaining how much money will be lost when the federal government cuts funding to a program that supplies extra police patrols to county housing units to control drugs.
Fulkerson, who recently attended the National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C., said cities across the country are being asked to pass similar resolutions, which will go to their representatives in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Fulkerson said New Castle's $197,000 will be eliminated July 1 if Congress doesn't act to restore it.
"It's going to put a test on us. We don't have enough money to hire more officers," he said. "The financing is being eliminated, but the drugs aren't."
Fulkerson explained that the federal money pays for extra police patrols in public housing between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. to help control drug dealing. Without the money, police working the general shift will have to respond to drug problems in the public housing complexes.
City council is expected to vote on the resolution Thursday.
XOTHER ACTION: They may have been some of the tiniest people to ever bring their concerns to city council, but that didn't mean their message went unheeded. B1

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