Issue Summary (Updated May 2012)
New property values for Allegheny County are scheduled to go into effect in 2013 as a result of a Supreme Court decision.
What We Know:
We have documented the recent history of property assessments in Allegheny County. Where things stand now is that property owners have seen their new and updated values and, after appeals are settled, those values will become effective in 2013. As a result of changes to state laws that apply to Allegheny County and its municipalities, property tax rates will have to be adjusted to be revenue neutral based on those new values. Taxes can be increased in a separate vote to bring in 5% more revenue overall; a desire to get more revenue would require approval of the courts. The County's 43 school districts have to live under the requirements of Act 1 of 2006.
In the meantime many County officials are hoping that the state will somehow intervene and stop the reassessment, most likely by enacting a moratorium on court-ordered reassessments. Some state officials say the moratorium would buy more time so that the state can decide whether they should take over the responsibility for conducting assessments, to mandate how frequently counties should do them, or to shift away from property taxes to another source of revenue.
Looking forward, the County has to at some point decide when the next assessment after 2013 is to take place. The courts have already struck down one base year plan in the County and would likely do the same if officials were to let the new assessments go on for too long.