Property Tax Referendum on Nov. 7 Ballot
11/2/2017
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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...


Turn Those Clocks Back This Weekend
Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, and Pennsylvania residents will be turning their clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night. Experts recommend using this reminder to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced every 10 years, and located near bedrooms and on each level of the residence.


Property Tax Referendum on Nov. 7 Ballot
On the Nov. 7 general election ballot, voters will have an opportunity to vote on a property tax reform measure. Currently, the state Constitution permits local governments – counties, municipalities and school districts – to exclude up to 50 percent of the median assessed home value from a homeowner’s tax bill. However, the referendum on the ballot will allow voters to decide if the maximum homestead exclusion could be increased to 100 percent of primary residences.

For example, under the current homestead exclusion, if the median assessed home value in your school district is $100,000, up to $50,000 can be excluded from your tax bill if your school district elected the full 50 percent exclusion rate. If the value of your home is assessed at $150,000, your local property tax rate would only be applied to $100,000 of that value. If the resolution amending the Constitution is approved, the homestead exclusion cap could be removed.

However, the General Assembly would still have to pass a law to implement the change, and local governments would still be responsible for establishing exclusion amounts for homesteads within each district.
 

Ms. Pennsylvania Visits the State Capitol

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Pennsylvania 2017 Katie Schreckengast, a 20-year-old from Palmyra, who attends Penn State University, while she was visiting our state Capitol. Katie’s platform is building families through adoption, while also raising money for Miss America’s national platform, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. We wish her all the best in her current and future endeavors.
 

Anti-Fraud Measure Signed into Law
Legislation to reform the local tax collection system to reduce instances of fraud was signed into law this week. Act 38 of 2017 prohibits checks made payable to a tax collector’s name only. Under the new law, checks should be made payable to the name of the tax collector along with the office, title or position; or be made out just to the office, title or position and then be deposited into a separate bank account used only for tax money.

Previously, the Local Tax Collection Law did not specify how taxes are to be paid, so it was left to individual tax collectors to determine how they want checks made out for the payment of taxes and to what account the tax money was to be deposited. Changing how accounts are set up and how checks are written will give municipalities and taxpayers an added layer of protection by ensuring their tax dollars go where they are intended. Act 38 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
 

Use Caution: Deer on the Move
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is reminding motorists to slow down and stay alert for deer on the roadways. Deer become more active in the autumn with the lead-up to their fall breeding season, commonly referred to as the “rut.”

Autumn also sees a number of people taking part in outdoor activities that might flush deer from forested areas or briar thickets, and deer are more actively feeding to store energy for winter months. Add to this the end of daylight saving time, which results in more traffic between dawn and dusk, and the chances of vehicle accidents with deer increase significantly.

In fact, Pennsylvania ranks third nationally in State Farm’s annual report on the likelihood drivers in each state will collide with a deer or other large animal. According to the report, Pennsylvania drivers have a 1-in-63 chance of experiencing a collision with a deer or other large animal – a 6.3 percent increase from 2016. Drivers can reduce their chances of collisions with deer by staying alert and better understanding deer behavior. Be especially alert in “Deer Crossing” areas, and remember deer tend to travel in family groups, so if you see one deer, more are likely coming.

To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD. If the deer is on a locally owned road, contact the appropriate municipality.

Contact Us
***PLEASE NOTE OUR OFFICE HOURS HAVE CHANGED***
Schuylkill Haven District Office
988 E. Main St., Suite A
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
570-385-8235
As of Sept. 11, the Schuylkill Haven office is now open Mondays-Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Williamstown District Office
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown
717-647-7208
The hours at the Williamstown office are as follows: Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Satellite Office Hours
Pine Grove - American Legion

42 S. Tulpehocken St., Pine Grove
By appointment only.

Gratz Community Center
125 N. Center St., Gratz
By appointment only. Call 570-385-8235 or 717-647-7208 to confirm date and time.

Tri-Valley Public Library
633 East Main St., Hegins
First and third Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Call 570-385-8235 or 717-647-7208 to confirm date and time.

Northern Dauphin Human Services Building
295 State Drive, Elizabethville
Fourth Wednesday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Call 570-385-8235 or 717-647-7208 to confirm date and time.

Tower City - Municipal Building
(Mayor’s office)
219 E. Colliery Ave., Tower City
By appointment only. Call 570-385-8235 to schedule.
 
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Office Locations
988 Route 61 South, East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 | Phone (toll free) (855) 271-9384
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown, PA  Phone (717) 647-7208
4B East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2147 
Email: mtobash@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614