Saturday, January 07, 2012

Tomorrow's Assessment News Today

Just trying to stay ahead of the bow wave in all of this, and speculating a bit on what seems obvious that we are moving away from, not closer to, any assessment resolution in Allegheny County.  It sure seems to me that the probability of timely property tax collection this year is getting lower.  Since city of Pittsburgh valuations are out there, it is all the other parts of the county that are really lost in space for the moment. 

What does it matter? An awful lot of course.  By my count there are 176 local governments, including municipalities of various charters, school districts, public authorities and special district governments and the county itself, that rely in some form on own-source property tax revenues. There are more local governments than that in the county, but some do not get any revenue from a property tax.  "Own-source" just meaning from taxes levied by the governments themselves, and not passed on to them as intergovernmental aide from another government, whether or not the original source was a property tax. 

Most local governments don't have big cash surpluses sitting around, so lack of, or delayed, property taxes could be a big problem.  How big and for whom is it a bigger problem may become the bigger issues pretty soon.

Anyway. To answer I tried to make one big chart, but 176 individual governmental units makes it unwieldy to graph here.  But if you want a table of all 176 local governments with property tax revenue in Allegheny County, ranked by the percentage of total local taxes that come from a property tax I have put it in an excel file online here.

For a summary that is almost as telling, here is how the reliance on property taxes breaks down by type of government in Allegheny County.  This shows the average proportion of local taxes that come from property taxes for all local governments in Allegheny County, broken down by type of government.  I would just speculate that in general, the higher the percentage in this, the higher stress over delayed property tax assessments. 

Which all just tells me this is all a real problem.

One thing to keep in mind.  Taxes are not the only source of revenues for local governments.  Some local governments, especially public authorities for example, get revenues as transfers from other levels of government. Others also generate revenues from fees which I did not include in any of this. Note also the graphic is the average of the proportion.  So each government is weighted the same for this.  Thus it is not being impacted by the relative sizes of all the different local governments we have here.


Anonymous Alex B. said...

I'm surprised by the non-reliance on property taxes by some of the municipalities. Has Pine township found some key to better living since only 39% comes from property tax? Or do speed traps on Route 8 provide that much money?

Saturday, January 07, 2012 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

So wide swaths of the County will like shut down if Fitzgerald tries to stop everyone from getting the new numbers, and Wettick mandates they can't use the old numbers. I guess bonds might help, but I wonder if that is a realistic solution for most entities.

If that is really the backdrop, then I suspect Wettick will not be easily pushed around--although he might sympathize if they can show there really is going to be a big change as a result of appeals. Which may be the real action at the upcoming hearing (can the PSD substantiate their expressed concerns?).

Saturday, January 07, 2012 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Pine collects a 1% earned income tax does it not?

Saturday, January 07, 2012 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Why don't they just multiply everybody's assessed value by .66 and mail those out? You could call it something like "Community Cohesion Adjustment" or something.

Sunday, January 08, 2012 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Better yet, say they are to use the 2011 numbers with a "relative appreciation adjustment," make a hugely complex chart that hides the fact that all they did was multiply the 2012 assessment by .66.

Sunday, January 08, 2012 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Well surely it raises by 2012 assessment. I hope it will never one of issues sooner or later. :D

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 12:09:00 AM  

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