Pittsburgh City Council Unanimously Approves Ravenstahl’s Property Tax Plan

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh City Council this morning unanimously approved Mayor Luke Ravenstahl‘s property tax proposal, which increases the homestead exemption and the low-income senior discount in addition to dropping the millage rate to comply with Pennsylvania law.

Although the rate will drop 30 percent — from 10.8 to 7.56 mills — the vast majority of homeowners will not see a corresponding drop in their taxes because of a reassessment that dramatically increased official home values.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-city-council-unanimously-approves-ravenstahls-property-tax-plan-672491/#ixzz2JPup3Jxn

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Lancaster County Jobless Rate Rises Again, To 6.7%

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County has thousands more people working than a year ago.

Sadly, it also has hundreds more people looking for work without success.

That’s pretty much why the unemployment rate here has been spinning its wheels.

Lancaster County’s jobless rate rose to 6.7 percent in December, the state said Monday

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/808422_Lancaster-County-jobless-rate-rises-again–to-6-7-.html#ixzz2JPrKeKmB

Mount Joy Borough Demotes Its Police Chief

Mount Joy Borough Council demoted its police chief to sergeant on Monday, finding he failed to “meet administrative expectations of the position.”

The decision ends six months of limbo for the borough and John O’Connell, who had been on paid administrative leave since July.

Bill Hall, chairman of the public safety committee, called the demotion a “reassignment agreement and release” that was agreed to by the borough and O’Connell in a motion offered to council.

Council voted 7-1 for the demotion, with Councilman Barry Mowrer opposing.  Councilman John Hiestand was absent.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/808599_Mount-Joy-Borough-demotes-its-police-chief.html#ixzz2JPq5KI6I

Hartman Will Not Seek Fourth Term On Pottstown School Board

Editor’s note:  I can’t blame him.  13 years is a pretty huge commitment. 

POTTSTOWN — For Pottstown School Board member Robert Hartman Jr., 13 years of service is apparently long enough.

At the close of Monday night’s school board meeting, Hartman announced that he will not seek another four-year term on the board in the spring primary elections.

Hartman said that with the deadline for petitions for the primary election approaching, he wanted to be sure his intentions were known so that anyone who is considering running for the office would know whether or not they would have to face him in the polls.

“I’ve heard that other people may be interested and it’s not fair for them not to know,” Hartman said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130129/NEWS01/130129256/hartman-will-not-seek-fourth-term-on-pottstown-school-board#full_story

Pa. Budget Chief Says Pension Reforms Essential

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett will “very likely” propose cutting future pension benefits for current school employees and state workers in the state budget plan he will present to lawmakers next week, his chief budget adviser said Monday.

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, all but confirming a cost-cutting approach that the administration first floated last fall despite questions about its legality, said decisive steps must be taken to rein in taxpayers’ fast-growing share of pension costs.

“We’ve got to pay for our obligations and we need to look at a rebalancing of our pension obligations … if we’re going to meet our needs without inflicting deep cuts elsewhere in the budget,” he said at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=446630

PennDOT Efficiency Drive Could Free Up Funds For Roadwork

Editor’s note:  Who ever thought we would see PennDOT and efficiency in the same sentence!

Extra taxes and fees aren’t the only tricks PennDOT has up its sleeves to round up more money for road projects.

The agency’s also turning to some less obvious solutions to its funding woes, such as mail-sorting machines and more durable highway paint.

PennDOT’s put together a list of technology investments, policy changes and other tweaks it thinks could save the state $50 million to $75 million a year and, in some cases, make the agency a little more pleasant to deal with.

The anticipated savings are a drop in the bucket compared with the $3.5 billion gap between available funding and the state’s transportation needs.  But it’s something.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=446586