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WHEELING-PITTSBURGH STEEL CORPORATION AND MONESSEN SOUTHWESTERN RAILROAD v. BOARD REVISION TAXES AND APPEALS CITY MONESSEN AND BOARD ASSESSMENT AND APPEALS COUNTY WESTMORELAND (10/19/89)

decided: October 19, 1989.

WHEELING-PITTSBURGH STEEL CORPORATION AND MONESSEN SOUTHWESTERN RAILROAD, A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF WHEELING-PITTSBURGH STEEL CORPORATION, APPELLANTS,
v.
THE BOARD OF REVISION OF TAXES AND APPEALS OF THE CITY OF MONESSEN AND THE BOARD OF ASSESSMENT AND APPEALS OF THE COUNTY OF WESTMORELAND, APPELLEES



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Westmoreland County, Honorable Bernard F. Scherer, Judge.

COUNSEL

David L. Nixon, Hollinshead & Mendelson, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Daniel Myshin, Monessen, Aaron M. Kress, New Kinsington, Joan G. Dorgan, Buchanan, Ingersoll, P.C., Pittsburgh, Kenneth P. Simon, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Richard G. Kotarba, Kevin F. McKeegan, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, Pittsburgh, (Intervention Granted), for Bethlehem Rail Acquisition Corp.

C. Andrew McGhee, Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & DiSalle, Pittsburgh, (Intervention Granted), for Monessen, Inc.

Barry and McGinley, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Barry

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 275]

OPINION

In August of 1986, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation (Wheeling) filed appeals of real estate assessments for 1987 on various parcels of real property located in the City of Monessen (City). At issue in this appeal from an order

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 276]

    of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County are parcels which contain a steel plant, a continuous caster and a rail mill. All of the parcels had been the subject of assessment appeals by Wheeling originally filed in 1975, which were eventually disposed of by a settlement agreement between Wheeling, the City and Monessen School District (School District). The settlement was confirmed by orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County. One order, in 1979, set the market value for all of Wheeling's real property located in the City. The order further provided that none of the parties would appeal the assessment established in 1979 for the years 1980-1984 except for new construction. The City and the School District further agreed not to impose any assessment until 1986 for the rail mill which was being constructed.

In 1981, the City abolished its Board of Assessment, electing to follow Westmoreland County's assessment by its Board of Assessment and Appeals of the County of Westmoreland for real estate within the City. In 1982, the City and the School District passed resolutions pursuant to the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA), Act of December 1, 1977, P.L. 237, as amended, 72 P.S. ยงยง 4722-27, which permitted the exemption of certain of Wheeling's property from taxation. In accordance with this resolution and, in order to value the rail mill for City and the School District assessment starting in 1986 as opposed to the assessment for county purposes, the parties obtained an amended order in 1982 from the common pleas court which assessed the rail mill at $8 million when it was placed on the assessment rolls of the City and School District in 1986. The order also set a limit on the total assessment for all Wheeling real property located in the City and stated that such assessment

[s]hall remain at that figure with additions thereto for new construction and substantial repairs and remodeling and with credits for removal or demolition or destruction of ...


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