The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

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.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014