Bethel Park Veterans Memorial

The Bethel Park Veterans Memorial greets visitors to the municipal building.

Bethel Park property owners have until the end of the year to pay their real estate taxes without incurring a late fee.

During a meeting conducted virtually Monday and made available online the following day, Bethel Park Council voted unanimously to extend the period without penalty past its usual Oct. 31 deadline.

The action comes in accordance with the state’s Act 15 of 2020, which took effect April 20 and allows extended property tax discount periods and delays the imposition of penalties for the late payment of property taxes.

“By adopting this resolution, we will provide that for real estate taxes for 2020 only, we will not collect any interest or penalties on payments provided they’re made by the end of the year,” council member Jim McLean said. “This is an opportunity to give folks some relief if they find that they can’t make their tax payments until the end of the year.”

The resolution is among the measures taken locally in response to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the closing of Bethel Park Public Library. It will remain so despite Allegheny County moving into Gov. Tom Wolf’s “yellow” phase of reopening as of May 15.

“For libraries in Allegheny County, in-person services are not permitted until the county is moved into the ‘green’ phase,” said Christine McIntosh, Bethel Park library director, as part of the council meeting.

“During this ‘yellow’ phase, the library will be acquiring appropriate personal protective equipment,” she said. “We’re having Plexiglas shields installed at all service points, as well as acquiring masks and gloves for staff. In addition, staff will be reconfiguring some furniture and moving some computers around to comply with social-distancing recommendations.”

She advised patrons to keep borrowed materials for now.

“We’re not yet equipped to accommodate returned items,” she said. “Late fees are not charged when the library is closed,” she said.

During the closure, the library’s Facebook page is conducting virtual programs, which “will transition to in-person programs and events when permitted and appropriate,” McIntosh said.

Also during the council meeting, Bethel Park Mayor Jack Allen issued a proclamation naming May 11-17 as COVID-19 Helper Recognition Week.

“The proclamation will recognize residents, businesses, educational institutions, religious and other establishments in the community that have been complying to guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health even as the compliance has presented obstacles and challenges for their financial, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health,” he said.

Allen’s action also recognizes Bethel Park individuals and organizations “showing exemplary courage, persistence and fortitude in providing support and assistance to others during the ‘stay at home’ period risking their own health and well-being as well as that of their immediate families.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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