The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 17, 2014

Realty transfer tax hike eyed

But voters get the final say

SHARON — After passing budgets without property tax increases for a couple of years, Sharon council members are talking about a hike in the realty transfer tax to raise new revenue for the city.

The tax used across the state is levied on real estate when it is sold to a new owner. The revenue is split with the state and sometimes shared between local governments and local school districts.

In Sharon, the tax is 2 percent. The state gets half the revenue and the city and school district equally split the other half.

It is projected to raise about $70,000 this year for Sharon, City Manager Scott Andrejchak said.

Raising the rate was suggested a few years ago for a future council by the commission that drew up Sharon’s home rule charter.

Andrejchak  is recommending that lawmakers do so but Council President Ed Palanski said they’re only at the  information gathering stage of a lengthy  process.

Sharon’s charter requires council to ask city voters in a referendum for approval to change the tax rate. That would require passage of an ordinance and a public hearing. It’s possible the city could put the rate change issue before voters on the May 20 primary ballot, Palanski said.

Last summer’s announcement that Sharon Regional Health System is working on a sales agreement with Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Inc. stirred speculation about how much the transfer in ownership to a for-profit corporation could be worth to Sharon.

That’s a coincidence, Andrejchak said, but the likely sale of the local hospital shouldn’t be seen as the driving force behind his recommendation to council to raise the transfer tax.

“I don’t want anyone to think that this idea is moving forward because of what one land owner may or may not be doing. It’s not good to make city policy that way,” he said. “The better policy is to look at our rate, compare it to surrounding communities and consider how much real estate is being transferred throughout the city. We’re not trying to single anyone out. It’s something we ought to be doing anyway.”

Andrejchak said neither Sharon Regional nor Ellwood Group Inc. executives have contacted him about the tax increase proposal.

Ellwood Group subsidiary Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine Co., Hermitage, is proposing a $52 million investment in a section of the former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant on Sharpsville Avenue.

Asked if it would support or oppose a transfer tax, Sharon Regional punted.

“Sharon Regional Health System recognizes the need for ... Sharon to pursue additional avenues to secure the necessary funding for maintaining and improving the infrastructure within the city,” Ed Newmeyer, director of marketing and community relations said in a statement. “We have not had an opportunity to review what the city is proposing ...  and will reserve comment until we receive more information.”

Local businessman Mike Lisac took a similar approach. Lisac owns six buildings he has been renovating and has rented to several of the new businesses that have opened downtown in the last couple of years.

“One question is whether it’s better or worse than raising the real estate tax. I don’t know,” the owner of Warehouse Sales hardware store said. “I’m in favor of the city working to become solvent but I haven’t looked at it closely yet.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014