ShareThis Page
Sharpsburg holds line on taxes, targets blighted properties |
Fox Chapel

Sharpsburg holds line on taxes, targets blighted properties

| Wednesday, December 12, 2018 4:06 p.m

Sharpsburg is projected to hold its tax rate steady while focusing its 2019 budget on fighting blight and improving the borough.

The proposed budget keeps property taxes at 7.15 mills, and Borough Manager Bill Rossey said much of it will focus on the demolition of more blighted properties, street paving, catch basin repairs and sewer improvements.

At the forefront of the plan is the continued fight against vacant and blighted properties, which has been a top priority for Sharpsburg and Mayor Matthew Rudzki for several years.

“This puts less stress on borough resources and adds value to the tax rolls,” Rudzki said. “That allows us to focus on other beautification or infrastructure projects.”

In just four years, the number of blighted properties in town have reduced drastically— from more than 100 to less than 20— with the help of local programs and grants.

Council most recently reached out to the community for help, as the borough begins the process of acquiring a condemned and demolished property on the corner of 13th and Middle streets.

“Blank-slate space is very limited in Sharpsburg, and when it becomes available, residents should have input in guiding the decision,” Rudzki said.

Rudzki took to Facebook to reach out to the community. Nearly 50 community members responded immediately. Many lobbied for green space, suggesting a community garden or simply more trees, while others prompted the idea for a dog park.

“Considering the importance of becoming self-sustainable makes the most sense to me,” commented resident Pamela Bruno.

“It’s right by Kennedy field, which is a spot for kids,” followed Brian Kozera. “Putting a fun factor in like a skate park or a dog park seems like a good idea, as well.”

While Council President Brittany Reno agrees the space should be turned into some sort of green space, she believes a dog park would be a good alignment to the needs and opportunities of the community.

“I get so many inquires about dog parks here, and right now we have no parks where dogs are allowed,” Reno said. “So many people have dogs, but no yards, so I think it’s something we should very seriously consider.”

Before a decision can be made, the borough must go through Allegheny County’s Vacant Property Recovery Program to acquire the piece of land.

The borough also will choose three more blighted properties for demolition funded from Allegheny County Community Development Block Grant program. In June, the program awarded Shaprsburg with a $55,000 grant to remove hazardous structures from the neighborhood, making way for future development.

Council will vote on the proposed budget at the Dec. 27 meeting in council chambers.

Christine Manganas is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.