On an 11-4 party line vote last night, the Allegheny County Council approved a 2012 budget that includes a one mill property tax rate increase. The budget moves the millage rate from 4.69 mills to 5.69 mills. One mill is $1 dollar in tax for every thousand dollars of assessed value.
The tax increase is the first millage rate increase in 10 years. The vote came with the support of County Executive Elect Rich Fitzgerald's approval. "I applaud County Council for their courageous vote this evening. I know that it was a difficult decision, but I stand with many leaders of our community in commending the members for recognizing that increasing the millage was something that had to be done. With Council's vote tonight, services to the disabled, children, and elderly in our community will continue to be available to them, as well as other services for our residents in this difficult economy," said Fitzgerald.
The total 2012 budget comes in at $784 million. It avoids cuts in human services and increase the amount to be sent to the Community College of Allegheny County.
The actual millage rate could fall before homeowners pay their 2012 taxes. The county is in the process of reassessing commercial and private property values. If the overall value of property in Allegheny County grows at a substantial rate it could force the county to lower the millage rate to keep collections at the proposed level.