Stop the Lwarenceville Business Improvement Tax
The Lawrenceville Corporation and a few businesses are pushing a Business Improvement District Tax that could cost you $6,000 or more. Their goal is to take $1 million dollars over the next ten years to sweep Penn Avenue and Butler Street sidewalks, fund an office staff, plant flowers, improve infrastructure and put up holiday lights.
The scariest part of this Business Improvement District Tax is that, according to state law, a Business Improvement District can acquire land via eminent domain for the purpose of making improvements. Not only do they want to increase our taxes, but now they want to take our property too!
If you say nothing, the Lawrenceville Corporation will count your vote as a “Yes” for the Businesses Improvement District Tax. As soon as this passes, your first improvement district tax bill will soon follow. Failure to pay the tax will result in penalties, interest and a tax lien against your property.
Please reject this TAX. Sign all the enclosed petitions and return them in the enclosed envelope on or before February 15, 2013.
Each property owner that is listed on the deed must sign for your vote to count. For example, if you and your wife are listed as the owners, then you both must sign. You may sign as many forms as you have properties.
Ross Township Impact Fee Advisory Board
December 13, 2012
Commissioner Grant Montgomery, President
Commissioner David J. Mikec, Vice President
Commissioner Daniel L. DeMarco
Commissioner Chris Rand Eyster
Commissioner John Sponcer
Commissioner Lana Mazur
Commissioner Grace Stanko
Commissioner Gerald R. O’Brien
Commissioner Peter A. Ferraro
Ross Township Board of Commissioners
1000 Ross Municipal Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
On behalf of the 2,200 members of the REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP), thank you for this opportunity to offer our comments and recommendations for your Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Board. While the intent of a transportation impact fee, an effective means to generate income for the community and fund capital improvements, is certainly a worthy one, we believe enacting these fees will have the opposite effect and unintentionally create higher costs for businesses, potential home buyers and existing home owners in Ross Township.
Enacting impact fees on new development to generate revenue for capital improvements is viewed by our membership as an idea inherently problematic and cumbersome. They contend, when a community imposes an impact fee on new development, the actual costs are passed on to the purchaser through increased lot prices. As lot prices increase, the number of people who are able to afford the lots decreases.
In addition, if the impact fees are too high, prospective homebuyers will look to other communities with lower prices. Accordingly, by reducing the number of prospective buyers who are either able or willing to pay for the increased lot prices, impact fees can have a devastating impact on local real estate markets.
Despite claims by local neighborhood groups, new residents are not the only ones affected by impact fees. According to a recent edition of Planning Magazine, 50 to 75 percent of new homes are purchased by existing residents looking to trade up within the same community. Accordingly, impact fees often penalize long-time tax-paying residents for wanting to stay in the community.
Impact fees represent one of the fastest growing taxes on potential home buyers and home owners who wish to live in suburban communities like Ross Township. They increase the cost of new and existing homes in communities where they are imposed. For these reasons, we hope you will consider the unintended economic consequences created by their use.
We believe that impact fees hamper and deter development in our nation’s communities and are responsible for:
• A disproportionate increase in the cost of new construction;
• Higher costs for new construction which result in upward pressure on the cost of existing
• Urban sprawl as developers seek political jurisdictions without impact fees;
• Reductions in the quality and/or quantity of new construction units due to increased costs;
• Disproportionate disadvantages to lower income households; and
• Reductions in housing opportunity across the income spectrum, for ownership as well as
For these reasons, we feel that impact fees are a detriment to Ross Township housing consumers and therefore are opposed to any expansion or increase in existing fees. RAMP does recognize that growing public resistance to higher property taxes has led local governments to seek out other options for raising funds for capital improvements. Many have identified impact fees as the most politically acceptable option. In cases where an impact fee is enacted, we strongly believe that guidelines should be in place to ensure accountability for how the impact fee can or will be used. Municipalities must be able to provide a strong correlation between the impact of a new development on the community and the use of the impact fee by the municipality.
We would like to recommend two very qualified REALTORS for your consideration to be appointed to your Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Board. The REALTORS we recommend are:
Cindy Criss: As a newly licensed sales associate in 1985, Cindy began her career with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services' North Hills Office. She is now the Manager, Associate Broker, for the North Hills office. Cindy’s knowledge of the residential real estate markets in northern Allegheny County and southern Butler County serves as a strong resource. As a graduate of Duquesne University, along with a certification in paralegal studies from Berry College, she is well equipped to assist with the on-going changes that affect real estate transactions in today's market. She is a member of the National Association of REALTORS, Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS, REALTORS Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, and the Butler County Association of REALTORS.
Barb Averell: She has been a homeowner in Ross Township for the past 14 years. Barb and her husband have three children, two of which have graduated from North Hills High School and one is in 9th grade at the Senior High. She has been involved in the PTO’s in school and also helped with the West View Ross Athletic Association. In 2008 she obtained her Brokers license. Barb managed a large Real Estate office for Prudential Preferred Realty from 2008 to 2011 and transitioned back to Real Estate sales because of the desire to again work hands on with buyers and sellers helping them to move on as their housing needs changed. Additionally, she has received the following designations/awards: Golden Hammer Award Recipient, CRS Designation, Fine Homes Designation, New Homes Sales Specialist, E-Certified, E-Pro, Certified Destination Specialist and Certified Marketing Assistance Specialist.
We thank the Ross Township Board of Commissioners for their consideration of our recommendations, and look forward to continuing to provide input and expertise on these matters that are important to our membership.
Government Affairs Director
REALTORS Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh
Cc: Township Manager Deborah Grass
Cc: Ramp Board of Directors
Stop private transfer fees now!
The battle to stop Private Transfer Fees in Pennsylvania continues.
October, 26th 2010
Stop private transfer fees in Pennsylvania. Thanks to RAMP REALTORS® and the leadership of fellow REALTOR® Senator Wayne Fontana, the PA Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1481, prohibiting private transfer fee obligations; and providing for notice and disclosure of existing private transfer fee obligations. The bill is now off to the House Urban Affairs Committee for consideration. RAMP and PAR have been on the pulse of this issue. RAMP has met with the following Representatives (House members) from Allegheny County on House Urban Affairs Committee; Chelsa Wagner (D), Matt Smith (D), Adam Ravenstahl (D), Mark Mustio (R) and House Majority Whip Frank Dermody (D), and is scheduled to meet with Rep. Paul Costa (D), and Dan Deasy (D) this week.
To view RAMP's letter to Senators, click here
Here are some key talking points when discussing PTF's:
1) Private transfer fees will cost unsuspecting homebuyers and sellers thousands of dollars in additional closing costs.
2) Private transfer fees add another unreasonable hurdle for the homebuyer to the already overwhelming process and cost of selling property.
3) Consumers may lose further equity in their homes when private transfer fee covenants are attached to the properties.
RAMP testifies on HB 712
RAMP testifies on proposed Land Bank Legislation.
September 13, 2010
Senator Gene Yaw, Chair
Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee
Senate Box 203023
457 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
On behalf of the 2,200 members of the REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (RAMP), thank you for this opportunity to offer comments on HB 712 for the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee to consider. While the intent of HB 712, to put vacant or tax-delinquent properties back into productive use, is certainly a worthy one, we believe doing so via the creation of a land bank will have the opposite effect and unintentionally create yet another bureaucratic barrier.
The creation of a land bank to address the issue of vacant or tax-delinquent properties is viewed by our membership as an idea inherently problematic and cumbersome. They contend it will create another layer of bureaucracy and red tape that potential investors/developers will have to deal with if they are interested in acquiring a property.
The best outcome remains when private investors are able to get properties back on the tax rolls for the benefit of a municipality and school district, as well as the greater community’s interest. Land banks may seem poised to solve one of the larger problems, the removal of tax burdens. However, if there is a willingness to decrease or waive a tax burden in order to put a property back into productive use, why not incentivize municipalities, school districts, and tax claim bureaus in a way that makes it easier for investors and potential buyers to accomplish the same, instead of creating additional hurdles of time and money via negotiating with a land bank? The proposed language within HB 712 does not require a land bank to be responsible for taxes and interest that may be owed on a property. Again, if the power to waive a tax burden can be given to a governmental creation, it would follow that it’s in the best interest of communities to have a similar incentive available to encourage buyers and investors in a swift manner.
As REALTORS®, our members are proud to subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, and undergo regular continuing education as real estate professionals. We have concerns that the potential administrators of a land bank are not typically qualified real estate experts, and therefore may not be experienced or equipped to carry out the crucial processes key to successful disposition of property, including appraisal, maintenance, and marketing, as well as the costs associated with these steps. A foreseeable and unfortunate outcome could thereby be the properties for which land banks were intended to assist actually remain non-productive for longer periods of time.
We thank the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee for their consideration of these points, and look forward to continuing to provide input and expertise on these matters that are important to our membership.
Jennifer M. Cloonan
Government Affairs Director
Cc: Senator Wayne Fontana
New Allegheny County Recording Requirements
Effective August 1, 2010
County recording offices will be stringently enforcing its recording requirements. To avoid the rejection of your documents by Allegheny Country recording offices, please review and remember to follow this abbreviated list of current recording requirements:
• Social security numbers are NOT permitted to be listed in a document.
• All documents are recommended to be in 10 point font or larger. We will not accept any document with a font of less than 8 point.
• ALL wording on a document MUST be typed. “Mail to address” and “Certificate of Residence” must be typed. Handwriting is only allowed for signatures and acknowledgments.
• Printing must be fully legible and not faded. Documents that had been photocopied numerous times prior to execution often have faded print, and therefore do not scan legibly for archival purposes.
• There must be a 1” margin at the top of the first page of a deed or deed related document for certification stamping.
NEW AMENDMENTS TO RECORDING REQUIREMENTS:
• Statement of Value Forms accompanying a deed for recording may continue to be handwritten.
• Book volume and page numbers may be legibly hand printed on second and subsequent documents ONLY in instances of concurrently recorded documents
It is recommended that REALTORS® visit and review the web page set up by the Allegheny County Dept. of Real Estate’s regarding Recording Requirements: www.alleghenycounty.us/re/recreq.aspx
Clarification on the possible extention of the Homebuyer Tax Credit
June, 22nd 2010
Will there be another extention of the homebuyer tax credit?
Many erroneous emails and news reports have been circulating that suggest the June 30th closing date for the homebuyer tax credit has been extended to September 30th. However, this has not yet happened. On June 16th, the Senate adopted Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) amendment to the pending jobs and extenders legislation (HR 4213) that would extend the closing date for the homebuyer tax credit to September 30th for purchasers who have satisfied the April 30 binding contract rule for the $8000 and $6500 tax credits. The amendment creates no new eligibility for the credit. NAR estimates that 130,000 homebuyers could be affected if the June 30 “close-by” date isn’t extended. As it is a part of HR 4213 – the larger tax package – we must now wait until the Senate completes work on the entire bill. Once through the Senate, the bill must go back to the House for their approval before obtaining the President’s signature. While the timing remains uncertain, completion is expected sometime next week. Congress will be in session during the weeks of June 21 and June 28, so votes on the legislation are still possible before the June 30 deadline. It’s important to understand that the bill could come to the floor again during the week of June 21, but is not presently on the calendar. If it appears that the bill can secure the necessary 60 votes, it will be considered. Then there will be several more votes required in the Senate. The bill then returns to the House. There is no guarantee that the House will adopt the Senate amendment. RAMP will let you know immediately when and if the tax credit closing date is extended, and keep you apprised along the way.
Wrapped up in this process is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is currently shut down. It, too, is contained with HR 4213, as well as the USDA section 502 funding for rural housing. Until legislation is signed by the President, NFIP cannot renew or issue new flood policies, which is delaying thousands of real estate transactions.
Updated January 4, 2010
The rental registration ordinance that was originally set for April 1, 2009, has been postponed indefinitely. We have updated our FAQ guide for your reference.
September 1st, 2009
REALTORS make progress. Rental registration deadline postponed.
The REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh continues to defend your private property rights, and has just made headway with the rental registration/inspection ordinance issue that affects so many of our members. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, to give you a better understanding of what this means to you.
Click here to download the FAQ guide.
December 18th, 2008
Shaler Township Dye Testing
The Board of Commissioners at their meeting held on Tuesday, December 9, 2008, accepted three bids for Sanitary Sewer Certification (Dye Testing), for the contract period of January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2011. The contract has been awarded to Lang Heating and Cooling, Slater Plumbing and Terry’s Plumbing. Please visit the Township website at www.shaler.org for more information and application forms for each contractor or call 412-486-9700 ext. 221 or 222.
Effective October 2008
As of October 15th, 2008, in order to receive final occupancy approval, the municipality of Penn Hills requires the submission of forms from both the water and sewage company verfying the accounts have been paid in full. This applies to property sales, purchases, and new occupants. Beginning January 2009, all apartment buildings will have to submit these forms once each year to the Code Enforcement Department.
Does this change affect you? Contact the Code Enforcement Department at (412) 798-2132, Monday thru Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m..
To see the announcement, click here.
BOROUGH OF BALDWIN
Effective August 2008
The Borough of Baldwin now requires an inspection of all real estate transfers and rental properties prior to issuance of an occupancy permit. Before parties are allowed to close on the sale the property inspection must be completed. If there are violations on the premises they must be prepaired before a permit will be issued and the fee will be $60.
For further information contact the code enforcement office at 412-882-9600 ext 258 or 264.
To view the public notice click here.
PROPERTY TAX TRACKER
Many municipal governments adjust local property tax rates during the first months of each year. We have compiled the following updates based on recent news accounts. The rates listed below are solely municpal tax rates (i.e., they do not include the separate millages for county and school district).
- Moon School District: 20.47 mills (up from 19.61)
- N. Allegheny School District: 18.99 mills (down from 19.34)
- Penn Hills School District: 24.81 mills (up from 23.39)
- Baldwin-Whitehall School District: 23.61 mills (down from 24.61)
- Ringgold School District: 113 mills (up from 109)
- North Hills School District: 19.6 mills (up from 19.1)
- Quaker Valley School District: 19.75 mills (up from 19.35)
- Bethel Park School District: 23.18 mills (up from 22.75)
- Mt. Lebanon School District: 23.81 mills (up from 23.56)
- Beaver County: 22.2 mills (up from 18.7)
- Harmony Boro (Butler): 14.5 mills (up from 13)
- Kennedy Twp. (Allegheny): 1.95 mills (up from 1.35)
- North Irwin Boro (Westmoreland): 14 mills (up from 11)
- Robinson Twp. (Allegheny): 3.05 mills (up from 2.65)
- South Fayette School District: 24.32 mills (up from 23.14)
Butler County Commissioners have approved a change in the way county property taxes are determined. Previously, taxes had been based on 75% of a home's 1969 assessed value. They will now be levied on a full 100% of 1969 assessed value. The change is likely to be accompanied by reduced millage, although that has not occured as of June 2008.
Effective July 1, 2008
The Peters Township Sanitary Authority Board of Directors has changed the procedures for obtaining a Dye Test and Document of Certification. Effective July 1, 2008 Dye Tests will be performed by Authority personnel, not private plumbers. Applications for testing, as well as payment, will be administered by the Authority.
To obtain an "Application for Dye Test Inspection," download one here or contact the authority at (724) 941-6709. Further procedural and fee details are available in this letter.
ACT 202 UPDATE
From Government Affairs Director Jennifer M. Cloonan:
"Some excellent progress to report . . .
You will recall that Government Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Speer and I met with Senator Fontana about closing the Act 202 loophole at the state level. Senator Fontana has offered an amendment to Act 202 (Senate Bill 1425) to do just that — the amendment would provide that in the event that an occupancy permit is issued to a contractor, the property owner would be given six months from the date of occupancy to submit the application form for this vital property tax exemption, thus retaining the incentive for buyers of new residential construction within Allegheny County.
RAMP submitted a letter of support on this proposed amendment to all Senators (Costa, Ferlo, Fontana, LaValle, Logan, Orie, Pippy, Stout) that represent all or parts of Allegheny County. Please click here to see what Senator Fontana has introduced."
Effective immediately, the Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds Office has been replaced by the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate. All recordable documents should be mailed to the "Allegheny County Department of Real Estate." All contact information will remain the same. All checks must be made payable to the Department of Real Estate. (Checks containing the former name will not be accepted after Jan. 31, 2008.)
June 27, 2007
The West Mifflin Community Foundation has crafted a "Homeowners' Guide to Landslides" that details the dangers of this natural phenomenon in western Pennsylvania. Mudslides are much more prevalent here than in California, but they are generally smaller and receive less media attention. If landslides are a concern to you or your clients, click here
for a printable brochure.
FRANKLIN PARK BOROUGH
May 25, 2007
As of July 1, dye tests in the borough will be administered by the McCandless Township Sanitary Authority. It will continue to be the seller’s responsibility to make application at least 14 days prior to the date of sale for all properties. The difference is that you will perform these actions through MTSA at 418 Arcadia Drive (412-366-2700).
The actual dye test will be the responsibility of MTSA, meaning you will no longer have to contract a plumber to perform these functions. Upon successful completion of the testing procedures, you will be given an approved dye test report from MTSA, a copy of which will be forwarded to the Borough of Franklin Park. You will continue to request your tax certification letter directly from the borough. All procedures must be completed prior to your closing date.
MTSA has posted the application for dye test certification online. This form can be downloaded and printed, making it possible for you to fill out the pertinent information prior to arriving at MTSA.
See also: MTSA Fee Schedule
UPPER ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP
April 13, 2007
The cost to file a dye test compliance letter is $25 (up from $15) effective immediately. To obtain dye test paperwork, contact the township public works office at (412) 831-9000. As before, the filing fee and completed report must been submitted at least 14 days prior to closing.
March 2, 2007
Newly constructed or renovated homes that meet strict "visitability" criteria for access by the disabled are eligible for a five-year property tax credit of up to $2,500. Click here for a copy of the enabling ordinance, which contains criteria and application instructions.
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