PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh’s City Council voted preliminarily on Wednesday to go forward with an Act 47 recovery plan that includes the possibility of a property tax hike for city property owners.
“This is the plan,” Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, chair of the Finance Committee, told her colleagues.
“It’s actually online if folks want to Google the Pittsburgh City Council budget office. You can find it in all of its glory, about 150 pages long,” she added.
The plan calls for the city to restore the millage rate to an older, higher rate.
The former mayor and City Council reduced taxes without knowing how many taxpayers would be successful in appealing new assessment rates, leaving an $8 million hole.
“It was a terrible miscalculation. It was frankly politics at its worse, at the heat of a campaign at the time,” says Councilman Dan Gilman, who was not on council at the time.
Gilman says a property tax hike requires a second vote — and he predicts it will never happen.
“This is our third five-year plan and in our first two plans we implemented about 20 percent of the recommendations. So a recommendation being in the plan does not mean it’s going to happen.”
So how does the new mayor feel about a possible tax hike?
His chief of staff, Kevin Acklin, says it’s still on the table but not desirable
“We’re going to work over the next six months before the end of the year to implement a solution here that does not constitute a tax increase,” Acklin told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Acklin says the city wants non-profit property owners like UPMC to pay their fair share before raising property taxes an average of $40 on homeowners.