Borough of Wilkinsburg, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 7-15-2009 by Ord. No. 2817]
For the purposes of the interpretation and administration of this article, the following definitions shall apply to the terms used in this article:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Wilkinsburg, located in Allegheny County.
DETERIORATED AREAS
All property within the geographical boundaries of the Borough.
DETERIORATED PROPERTY
A dwelling unit located in a deteriorated neighborhood, as hereinafter provided, or a dwelling unit which has been or upon request is certified by a health, housing or building inspection agency as unfit for human habitation for rent withholding, or other health or welfare purposes, or has been the subject of an order by such an agency requiring the unit to be vacated, condemned or demolished by reason of noncompliance with laws, ordinances or regulations.
DWELLING UNIT
Unless otherwise defined in the ordinance or resolution providing for tax exemption, a house, apartment, or group of rooms intended for occupancy as separate living quarters by family or other groups or a person living alone, containing a kitchen or cooking equipment for the exclusive use of the occupants.
JOINT COMMITTEE
The Joint Committee on Administrative Process to Reclaim Vacant Properties comprised of the Wilkinsburg Borough Council President, the Wilkinsburg Borough Council Finance Chair, the Wilkinsburg Borough Manager, the Wilkinsburg District Board President, the Wilkinsburg School District Board Finance Chair, and the Wilkinsburg School District Director of Business Affairs, or their respective designees.
[Amended 7-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2935]
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY
A county, city, borough, incorporated town, township, school district or home rule municipality having authority to levy real property taxes.
RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION
The building or erection of dwelling units upon vacant land or land specifically prepared to receive such structures.
RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENT
Repair, construction or reconstruction, including alterations and additions, having the effect of rehabilitating a structure so that it becomes habitable or attains higher standards of housing safety, health or amenity or is brought into compliance with laws, ordinances or regulations governing housing standards; ordinary upkeep and maintenance shall not be deemed an improvement.
SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Wilkinsburg School District, located in Allegheny County.
In consideration of the substantial amount of deteriorated and unimproved residential property located within its boundaries and its mutual desire to rejuvenate and enhance economic growth in the region, the Wilkinsburg Borough Council has determined that it is in the best interests of its community that the boundaries within which tax exemption herein provided shall be available should be conterminous with the geographical boundaries of the Borough.
[Amended 7-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2935]
A. 
The Borough of Wilkinsburg Code, Tax Base Expansion Act, and Part 4, Chapter 237, § 237-56,[1] Application for tax abatement, is hereby amended as follows: The Borough of Wilkinsburg hereby temporarily exempts from real property taxation the assessment attributable to improvements to deteriorated property located within the geographical boundaries of the Borough in accordance with the provisions set forth hereinafter. Said temporary exemption is automatically revocable in the event of one of the following: 1) failure to pay any property tax due on any property within the Borough of Wilkinsburg, in full, within 60 days of becoming due; or 2) failure to abate a building or housing code violation on any property within the Borough of Wilkinsburg as provided for in the notice of violation; or 3) willfully or negligently failing to provide accurate information on the application form described in § 237-59.2 herein. The Borough Manager, or his/her designee, shall verify that these conditions are met by temporary tax exemption grantees on an annual basis. There shall be no tax relief of tax on the assessed valuation attributable to land. Temporary tax exemption for such improvements to deteriorated business properties will begin in the tax year following the completion of the improvement and will be provided in accordance with the following schedule:
Year
Percentage of Assessed Value of Improvements Exempt From Taxation
1
100%
2
90%
3
80%
4
70%
5
60%
6
50%
7
40%
8
30%
9
20%
10
10%
11
No tax exemption shall apply.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Part 4, Deteriorated Property, which included said § 237-56, was repealed 2-4-2009 by Ord. No. 2804.
B. 
After the 10th year immediately following the year upon which the improvement becomes assessable, the exemption shall terminate. To be eligible for temporary tax exemption under this article, construction of the improvement must commence within one year following the issuance of a building permit for the improvement, and such construction must be completed within two years following the issuance of a building permit for the improvement. The Borough Manager, or his/her designee, shall verify these requirements have been met.
Tax exemption on the additional assessment shall be attributable to the actual cost of residential improvements or residential construction or up to the maximum cost of $250,000 per dwelling unit which has been uniformly established by the local taxing authorities. The maximum cost shall apply uniformly to all eligible residential property within the local taxing authority jurisdiction.
[Amended 11-2-2011 by Ord. No. 2879; 7-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2935]
Any person, organization, corporation, limited liability company, partnership or association desiring tax exemption pursuant to this article shall notify the Borough Manager or his/her designee in writing on a form prescribed by the Borough Manager or his/her designee submitted at the time such person, organization, corporation, limited liability company, partnership or association applies for a building permit for the construction of the improvement. The Borough Manager or his/her designee shall submit said applications to the Joint Committee, which will either approve or reject said application. Applications for temporary tax exemption not submitted to the Borough Manager or his/her designee at the time of applying for a building permit will not be eligible for tax exemption hereunder. The Borough Council for the Borough of Wilkinsburg authorizes the Joint Committee to annually review the application for temporary tax exemption and make changes to said application consistent with the provisions of this article without a formal vote by the Borough Council for the Borough of Wilkinsburg. The application for temporary tax exemption must set forth, at least, the following information:
A. 
The identity of the property that is to be improved by reference to the adjoining street, road or highway and the block and lot or tax parcel number of the property as designated by the Real Estate Division of Allegheny County;
B. 
A title report issued within 60 days of application with the identity of the current owner of record, or person or entity having an equitable interest in the property, and any person or entity having a financial interest in either the property or the planned improvement;
C. 
The date the building permit was issued for the planned improvement(s);
D. 
A summary of the plan of residential improvement or residential construction; and
E. 
An estimate of the cost of the planned residential improvement or residential construction; and
F. 
The date of the last assessment and documentation of the last assessed value; and
G. 
Such other additional information as may be required to determine eligibility for the exemption by the Borough Manager or his/her designee or the Joint Committee.
[Amended 7-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2935]
If the application meets the requirements of this article and upon approval of the application by the Joint Committee, a copy of the application and approval shall be forwarded to the Borough Manager and the school district's Director of Business Affairs. Upon completion of the construction of the improvement, the applicant must promptly notify the Office of Property Assessment of Allegheny County so an inspection of the improvement may be made. When the Office of Property Assessment has completed its inspection, such agency shall assess separately the improvement and the land, and inform the Borough and school district of the new assessment. The Borough Manager, or his/her designee, shall calculate the amount of the abatement and issue an abatement schedule to the property owner and school district Director of Business Affairs, with a copy to the Joint Committee. The Borough Manager, or his/her designee, shall also inform the relevant third-party tax collectors, if applicable, so that they may use the abatement schedule to issue property tax bills which reflect the approved abatement. Abatement scheduled in § 237-59 shall begin in the tax year following the completion of the improvement.
The exemption from taxes authorized by this article shall be upon the property exempted and shall not terminate upon the sale, conveyance, bequest or other alienation of such property.
This article shall become effective within the Borough without the necessity of the adoption of similar tax relief ordinance by any of the other local taxing authorities.
The provisions of this article shall continue in full force and effect unless terminated by the Wilkinsburg Borough Council. The repeal of this article shall not affect any completed application for exemption received by the Wilkinsburg Borough Council before the effective date of repeal, as to which the terms of this article shall continue to apply.
The following miscellaneous provisions shall be applicable:
A. 
The Wilkinsburg Borough Council may condition or restrict approval of any tax relief as permitted by law.
B. 
Where any such condition or restriction is imposed, the taxpayer receiving such tax relief shall comply with any such condition or restriction and shall provide documentation of compliance at least annually and upon such other reasonable request by the Borough. Should the taxpayer fail to comply, the Borough reserves the right to terminate the taxpayer's tax relief.
C. 
In the event of any local agency hearings before the Joint Committee, should the applicant desire that a stenographic record be made of any proceedings, the applicant shall be responsible for the payment of any and all costs associated with the same. Where costs are anticipated to be incurred on behalf of the applicant, the applicant shall be required to deposit with the Borough Manager in advance an amount reasonably anticipated to be incurred. Should the deposit exceed the costs actually incurred, the Borough Manager shall refund any excess. Should the deposit not be sufficient, the Borough Manager shall promptly notify the applicant, and the applicant shall immediately pay the excess amount due in advance of any further proceedings.