Sunday, January 15, 2012

Statisticum Collegium

For those who keep asking for the data with new assessment numbers here you go. I will be honest and had hoped that this data would be made public from its source.  To have it come from me risks a bit of confusion of multiple sources if and/or when this is distributed. I would expect it would have to become available at some point, but even that isn't absolutely assured.  I don't think many folks have ever seen a data set for the county's 2005/2006 reassessment that was completed, but never implemented.   So one purpose of this exercise was to capture the results of county's multi-million dollar reassessment for the pseudo-record just in case the data wound up being 'lost' along the way.

For this new data, my understanding is the media folks have been asking since December for this and as yet have been unable to obtain it even though it is central to all the assessment debates of late.   I guess we live in a 2nd best world and this data has become too central to the public debate to leave it in data-limbo.  So for all that have been asking, below you will find a link to the data I have on new property assessments for residential parcels in the City of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver as first released last month and subsequently retracted.  So this is not meant to be the definitive reference. I suspect I lost a few records along the way, but I believe it represents 99% of what it should be. 

This is the data I have and is what I used to generate the distribution of assessment changes and the 65% factoid that has been repeated surprisingly often in the media.   I will repost what that distribution looks like below as well.

The file is comma delimited text.  The file has only 3 data fields: 1) An index for each parcel comprised of its block and lot number, a standard reference for properties, 2) the 2002 base year assessment for each parcel and 3) the 'new' 2012 assessment for the parcel.  There is one record per parcel and this should all only reflect residential parcels in the City of Pittsburgh.  

OK.  That comma delimited file is accessible via this link. For further reference on the data itself you should refer back to this earlier post here

I will add to the earlier explanations that when coming up with the 65% I took out properties that were valued at under $3,000 per the previous (2002 base year) assessments. An arbitrary dollar amount to a degree, but is the value below which appeared to me conservatively represented mostly vacant land, new construction yet to be assessed at its new market value, auxilliary parcels such as the occassionally separately deeded parking space, or parcels otherwise unused and not relevant to the question at hand of how much residents can expect to see their tax bills change as a result of this reassessment. That took out roughly 10% of the records in the data; each record representing a parcel located within the City of Pittsburgh. Honestly I suspect if you could identify and take out more of the vacant land and similar parcels, the % below the notional revenue neutral point would be even higher, but that will remain for future crunching by someone.

and I'll address some of the math associated with the homestead exemption in a later post.

So to be clear.  It is a 2nd best world at this point and ideally those generating this data would have made it a bit easier to access and would have provided similar and better diagnostics than this.  Realize that property assessment data is public record in Pennsylvania.  Any comments, errors or other quibbles... please feel free to comment.


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...


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