New Castle News

February 24, 2014

Neshannock approves assessment settlement

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock Township supervisors accepted a reduced tax assessment settlement this week for the Lightner Greene development.

This federal senior citizen housing complex is located at Mitchell Road and Eleanor Drive, near The Y Zone.

The settlement already has been accepted by the school district and Lawrence County.

In 2011, the Lawrence County tax assessor set the property assessment at $5,635,800. This was appealed by the property owner, who argued the assessment should be $1,790,700.

The property owner and the three taxing bodies have reached a settlement agreeing that the fair market value of the property is $1,850,000.

Under terms of the settlement, the township has agreed taxes have been overpaid by $16,842.60. The developer will receive a tax credit of $1,515.83 per year.

The supervisors rejected a $2,670 bid to upgrade equipment needed to copy audio tapes from the meetings.

Chairman Joe Gierlach said the amount is “too costly” for the township to spend.

Supervisor Ed Stevens, who had asked for a recording of municipal meetings, said he will supply his own $10 tape recorder to make his own recordings.

“I just asked for a recorder so I can review what is said” at meetings, Stevens noted. “I didn’t want the township to spend $3,000 to record the minutes.”

Gierlach agreed to take over monthly hazard safety inspections, as required by Penn Prime, the township’s worker’s compensation insurance provider.

Stevens previously had volunteered to do the inspections and told Gierlach they are up to date.

The township receives a $6,700 annual discount if the inspections are done, Gierlach said, but could pay a penalty if they are not done.

Following the meeting, Gierlach said areas identified as hazardous — the lift stations, municipal garage and Hess Ice Rink where the compressors are run — must be inspected monthly. Other areas need only an annual inspection. Inspections also must be current prior to an upcoming audit of the township.

At the meeting, the supervisors also:

•Contracted to lease a new boom tractor for the road department through Walsh Equipment, Butler. The township will pay $90,622 over the five-year lease.

•Agreed to spend $4,985 to install a glass wall at the front office at the municipal building. The glass, purchased through City Glass, will provide security and conserve heat and air conditioning. The vote was 2-1 with Ed Stevens opposed. He said he does not believe the glass is needed.

•Accepted resignations of Nicole Rekich and Jodie Mitteff, seasonal employees at Hess Ice Rink, effective Feb. 5.

•Tabled an option to lease-to-own a one-ton dump truck, also through Walsh Equipment.

•Named Ed Harris to the Neshannock Township vacancy board.

•Commended members of the road crew — Todd DeMatteo, Chris Kliem, Matt Patton, Ken McGuirk and foreman Howard Thompson.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)