Some quick hits:
PG talks about possible contempt of court outcomes in the latest developments. Truth is I am quite sure the county (the county itself, or its apparachiki in their official capacities) has most certanly been past the point of possible contempt citations many times in the past in all of this. The problem is, as I am sure Judge has pondered, what exactly does that mean? Does the Judge really want to be in the situation of holding a County Executive in contempt. Then what? Put his top functionaries in jail or fine them? Seems pretty unfair to do it to the underlings, but just impractical to do much to the top dog. Fine the county $ per day for noncompliance? Well then, who is going to collect from the county if they prove to be continuingly uber belligerent? Would county sheriff go around serving the county executive or otherwise enforce the judge's rulings. All becomes painfully more complex than even it is now and I suspect Judge Wettick has considered all that in detail. Likely would get other common pleas court judges involved in related rulings that could themselves be inconsistent in the end. Not good.
Here is the biggest thing. So if it is true that commerical values went up by 71% in the city of Pittsburgh, then to follow up on my post yesterday on the distribution of changes in assessment values, and the winners and losers that result, here some back of the envelope calculations. Roughly I think 60% of city property tax revenue is from residential and 40% from commercial property. If you don't believe commercial is that much of total revenues then remember this graphic which shows a huge, almost entirely commercial, Downtown impact all by itself. So if residential values went up on average 46% and commercial went up by 71%, it means the overall average is more like 56%. The article says it is 57.89% (there are some significant digits for you). Now go back to the distribution I put up there yesterday. If millage is adjusted based on that calculation even roughly, then it is more lopsided and OVER 2/3rds of all city residents would see their property taxes go down resulting from the new assessment, yet people are universally livid. At the same time barely any public anger over the county's recent 20% property tax rate increase. I am missing something.
Further it means it is now far less than 5 percent who would expect to see taxes go up by 100 percent or more. More like 3.5 percent now. I really need to see if I can calculate a total estimated savings in $$ from all the homes that lose out if there really is going to be no assesment. Must be some dollar amount to all of that,
For school districts or other municipalities worried about a month delay in getting their property tax revenues through the door... realize that short term municipal paper is yielding close to 1% or less (at an annual rate) interest these days. What does that work out to for a month or so? So all I have to say is: Tax Anticipation Bond. Done all the time in lots of places quite routinely for precisely the same reason as may be needed here (without the soap opera of course). What is routinely dealt with as a matter of routine elsewhere is some inconceivable trauma for us. Can be said for more than assessments of course as well.
and yes.. there will always be assessment mysteries. The Casino which supposedly had well over $400 million in construction costs, something like an $800 million total cost, is still appealing it's $199 million dollar assessment.. an assessment which I think was set before they got their approval for table games which would impact an income based assessment.
The old RET and older Alcoa building is upset over an assessment increase from 10 to 30 million. This is for an entire skyscraper. Scrap aluminum is pretty expensive these days. Might be 3-4 million in aluminum value alone in there, let alone the value of the XPlorion. That cost a million to install I bet at one point. Whether it counts in the cost of the building these days would not even be a rhetorical question.
On this notion that canceling (I am struggling with the correct verb to describe what actually happened yesterday) a new property assessment will help property values in the county.. what will be the impact of the years of uncertainty and confusion this is going to have on property values in the future? High taxes are one thing, but not really knowing what taxes will be is another thing altogether. Sometimes the devil you know...
Crystal ball. Barring some quick resolution. If no reassessment I suspect there will be strong patterns in the new ('old new'?, or 'new, now old'?) assessment numbers that correlate with race in some way which will prompt some sort of filing in Federal court on this and I suspect the Federal bench in town are collectively Wettick supporters. Just a guess.
and just from the archives. October 19, 2009: "We're here because of the Supreme Court's mandate to me," Indeed ..........Ditto