I think it is time to hold some community forums to discuss Avalon, Bellevue, and Northgate. Why? We desperately need our school board and borough councils in the same room to talk money and property taxes. Northgate really has no other alternative but to raise taxes, but we’re at the tipping point of doing more harm than good. How is it so?
My wife and I have been casually shopping for a house for two years. We want to stay in Bellevue, where we love walking with our dog and daughter and found a church that fulfills us beyond our expectations. But the reality is we can have a similar home for less money in a more reputable school district. In some cases a MUCH better school district if we’re willing to sacrifice a walking community and small schools. We are losing those families willing to give up some small town feel for results – especially if they’re cheaper. Northgate is a decent school district – but we’ve fallen behind our neighbors.
I crunched the numbers to calculate the annual tax bill for a $150,000 house in some of the districts in the North Hills:
North Allegheny: $3,530
North Hills: $3,876
If a young family is stuck between a house on Dawson Avenue in Bellevue (Northgate SD) and Clarion Avenue in Ross (North Hills SD), they will save over $100/month on their taxes by buying the house in Ross/North Hills. If Northgate raises taxes and North Allegheny stays the same (which is the projection), you could save $150/month and live in one of the best districts in the state.
These Northgate forums need to generate ideas on how to spur investment in our real estate to improve property values and hold off future property tax increases. Unless the funding model changes – and that’s an issue that must be dealt with at the state level – I don’t see how Northgate can survive. If the call to action is not made – the Northgate school board should probably call the board at North Hills to discuss a merger.