I want to thank everyone who attended the 13th annual FontanaFest on Saturday at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and especially everyone who participated in the 1st FontanaFest Fun Run/Walk. We had a terrific turnout and were able to raise funds to help defeat childhood cancer and support families.
A special thanks to Highmark and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC who sponsored the Fun Run/Walk!
Following the race attendees enjoyed the many fun family-friendly activities, games and information that was provided by all our participating organizations.
FontanaFest is a 501(c)3 and would not be possible without the support of our terrific sponsors. I want to give special thanks to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for hosting us at Highmark Stadium and for the staff at Highmark Stadium for all your assistance and efforts in making FontanaFest such a success. Special thanks to Station Square and Forest City for providing free parking to our guests, and the I.B.E.W. Local 5 for their generous support! Without the following organizations, FontanaFest would not be possible:
Thank you to the students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre who joined us again this year and entertained the crowd with another fantastic performance! I also want to thank the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Riverhounds for supporting FontanaFest by allowing Steely McBeam, Iceburgh, Pirate Parrot and AMO respectively, to spend some time with our guests.
Potential Increase in the Homestead Exclusion
On November 7, 2017, when Pennsylvania voters go to the polls for the General Election, they will be asked if they are in support of amending the state constitution to allow local taxing authorities, counties, municipalities, and school districts the ability to increase the homestead exemption from 50 percent of the median assessed value to 100 percent of the assessed value of the property. House Bill 1285 (HB 1285) passed the General Assembly this summer and House Bill 147 (HB 147) passed in 2015, which is necessary to amend the constitution since a bill must win approval by the Legislature in two consecutive sessions before it can be presented to voters via referendum.
The current 50 percent homestead exemption is a constitutional amendment that was adopted in 1997. An example of how the exemption currently works is a municipality has three homesteads—one assessed at $50,000, one assessed at $100,000, and one assessed at $200,000. The median assessed value in that taxing jurisdiction is $100,000. At this time, the municipality may exempt up to 50 percent—in this case $50,000—of all homestead properties from taxation. So, the homestead assessed at $200,000, is taxed on $150,000 of its assessed value; while the homestead assessed at $50,000, is fully exempt from taxation by that jurisdiction.
If the constitutional amendment were approved and the local taxing authority decides to set the exemption to 100 percent, no homestead owner would have to pay property taxes. However, the local taxing authority would then need to replace that lost revenue by imposing another tax or raise the tax rates on something like the personal income tax (PIT) or sales tax. Millage rates is the only item prohibited from increasing on other real property to make up the difference. Enabling legislation by the General Assembly would then be required to allow the local taxing authorities to increase taxes and establish guidelines for local governments to follow.
It’s important to note that this law would only affect homesteads and farmsteads – one’s primary residence and the property upon which it is built – and not businesses or vacant property. Commercial properties are not a part of the potential reductions, and homeowners with multiple residences would be able to lower the assessment of only one of their properties.
The ballot question has not been drafted yet by the state’s attorney general, but I will be sure to keep you informed as we get closer to election day.
Mosquito Spray – TONIGHT!
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has announced that several mosquito samples recently collected in the Allegheny Center, South Side Slopes and Knoxville neighborhoods of the City of Pittsburgh have tested positive for West Nile virus. In response, the ACHD’s Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program (BU 1224) will be conducting a truck-mounted, Ultra Low Volume (ULV) spray event tonight between 8 – 10 p.m. to decrease mosquito populations and reduce the risk of virus transmission. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date will be tomorrow.
The pesticide being applied is Zenivex and is designed to provide quick, effective control of adult mosquito populations. Zenivex has a very low toxicity profile to mammals and will have negligible impact on non-target insects and the environment. It will be released at just 1.5 ounces per acre.
For any additional information on this spray event please visit www.achd.net. To learn more about West Nile virus in Pennsylvania, please visit www.westnile.state.pa.us.
Changes for Notaries in Pennsylvania
Along with the Pennsylvania Department of State, I want to remind all Pennsylvania notaries of significant changes to the notary law that will go into effect in October.
The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), enacted in 2013, requires that all notaries complete a three-hour notary education course in order to be appointed or reappointed. The course must be completed in the six months immediately preceding the application for appointment or reappointment. The education requirement affects all notaries, including those previously “grandfathered” by court ruling. Because RULONA changes take effect October 26, 2017, the six-month window is now in effect for anyone who will be applying or reapplying on or after that date. A certificate of course completion must be included with all applications for appointment or reappointment submitted on or after October 26.
New notaries will be required to take and pass an examination before receiving their commission. Current notaries will not be subject to the examination requirement as long as their commission has not expired or lapsed. If a current notary’s commission expires for even one day, that notary will be required to take and pass the examination.
The examination will be a computer-based test offered at Pearson VUE test centers in nearly all Pennsylvania counties. The cost is $65 per test. Notary applicants will have six months from the time they are authorized to sit for the exam to successfully pass the test and can take the test as many times as needed.
RULONA changes also include revisions to the list of authorized notarial powers, a redesigned notary stamp, updated requirements for the notary journal or register, and the option to keep the journal in an electronic format. Currently commissioned notaries may continue to use their current notary stamps and registers until their existing commission expires.
A comprehensive list of changes that will go into effect October 26 has been posted on the Department of State website at www.dos.pa.gov. A list of education providers is available on the site or by clicking here. More information can also be provided by calling 717-787-5280 and selecting, option 2.
Did You Know…
Did you know that more than 80,000 men and women hold notary public commissions in Pennsylvania?
Table Games Revenue Increases
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced last week that revenue from table games play in Pennsylvania increased nearly four percent in July compared with July 2016. Table games revenue in July totaled more than $77.8 million, an increase of 3.8 percent over last July’s table games revenue of just over $75 million. Total tax revenue from table games play in July was nearly $12.5 million. Locally, Rivers Casino saw a nearly three percent rise in table games revenue in July compared to July 2016.
Combined July’s slot machine revenue, total gaming revenue for the month was down by less than 0.5 percent compared with last July.
The state’s gaming industry employs over 17,000 people and generates approximately $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue from both slot machines and table games. For more information on gaming in Pennsylvania and to read reports from the Gaming Control Board, please visit them online at www.gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Thursday, September 28 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you. Light refreshments will be served.
I am also pleased that several organizations from around the region will be present to provide seniors with important information on available services and resources. Organizations scheduled to participate include: ACCESS; Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Area Agency on Aging; Allegheny County Bar Association; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy; OASIS; the Office of the Consumer Advocate; PA APPRISE; and the PA Public Utility Commission. I will continue to update you on additional organizations in the coming weeks.
McKees Rocks Feastival
The 5th annual McKees Rocks Feastival is scheduled for Saturday, August 26 in McKees Rocks from 3 – 9 p.m. A creation of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC), this annual end of summer party has music, food, food trucks, clothing vendors, beer, artisans, the Ohio Valley Hospital Kid Zone and much more.
The event is free with online general admission registration, or a $5 donation at the gate. VIP tickets for individuals 21 and over can also be purchased.
For more information on the McKees Rocks Feastival, please visit them online at www.pghfeastival.com.
World’s Steepest 5K Returns
Hell on Hills, the World’s Steepest 5K is back! Last year, the hills of Beechview saw almost 300 runners charging up some of the steepest streets the world has to offer, such as Canton and Bousted. They are doing it again this year, Saturday, October 7 at 8 a.m.
This year’s event will feature a community festival at the finish line with food trucks, music, and general revelry. For more information on the race and event and to register, please visit www.hellonhills.com.
Realtor.com recently named Pittsburgh as one of the best cities in the country where outdoor enthusiasts can live affordably. There are 18 state parks within a one hour drive from most points in the Pittsburgh region.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol |
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
|Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library |
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212