Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not an end, but a beginning

In summary, the news today from the Wettick Watch can be summarized.  The current assessment soap opera is coming to a close. 

If you are interested in local assessment metrics at all.  The report referenced in the news today has been available for most of the year.  See from page 14 onward in this court filing.  News articles should link to that, or make it available somehow.

Just musing at this point, but timing is interesting in all of this.  When you think about it, the decade Allegheny County went without an assessment between 2002-2012 was not a period of rapid real estate appreciation for the most part.  Yet local valuations clearly became out of date along the way.  Yet by all accounts real estate prices locally have really been appreciating recently.  Seems to me that if the current reassessmend had not been delayed several years a lot of folks would be getting a lot lower tax bills than they are about to. 

More practically.  We are about to enter the end game for assessments, and for taxpayers the end game is defined by what taxes they pay. So property tax millage adjustments are the key news item going forward.  If you want a third party calculation of what your municipality's or school district's millage should be reset to in order to remain revenue neutral, I refer you to Professor Strauss' calculations.   Ten years ago when Allegheny County really went through this last, some folks were watching pretty carefully.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

I understand why Wettick decided he could not try to provide a remedy, but it is nonetheless unfortunate that it seems pretty clear there is systematic bias in the way the assessments were carried out.

Anyway, I agree these assessments are already stale--so when is the next court case? Or is it really impossible to imagine the County would ever voluntarily reassess?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no bias. The argument that lower value neighborhoods got hit harder is hogwash. Any increase in value in lower value neighborhood means a higher percentage increase. On the contrary, a modest percentage increase in higher value neighborhood translates into much higher tax increase. I can't believe how wrong everyone is getting this. Ex: $20k house appreciating to $40k is 100% increase. With $15k homestead exemption guess what the total taxable value is? On contrary a $500k house appreciating to $600k is a modest 20% increase in value. Guess what taxable value is of that house and the increase?
The real test will be whether the various school districts keep up with the process. Yes, there were lots of values missed by Tyler. I don't fault them the way opportunistic politicians do. It wasn't an easy task. But now we have the base line and fixed lots of problem. The clean up work over the next few years and beyond lies with the taxing bodies to continue to review sales, values, etc. and continue to appeal individual properties. Then, on a policy level we need to make this happen every 3-5 years.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:56:00 AM  

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