Reaction is coming in to the County Controller’s audit of the contractor that performed the reassessment. The audit deals with four main findings: the contract provisions were satisfied, but they were weak; the project was not completed in the timeframe; the County’s Office of Property Assessments (OPA) did not adhere to its contract provisions; and various internal control deficiencies.
There’s plenty of data as the Controller’s office calculated median, mean, coefficient of dispersion, and price related differential for sales covering two time periods and displayed the results by municipality and school district. There is a response to the audit from OPA, which basically concludes that the property tax system in the Commonwealth is flawed and needs reformed.
What’s very important to note is that in at least two instances the audit goes to great length to dispel the notion that a reassessment automatically causes a tax increase. We noted earlier this year that the County’s reassessment page published a quick and handy guide to this fact, and the Controller’s audit notes that "it is important to understand that a taxpayer’s tax liability will not necessarily increase when the assessed value of their property increases" and "one of the common misconceptions held by Allegheny County property owners about the reassessment is that the reassessment will automatically result in a higher property tax bill for the homeowner…"
By detailing the anti-windfall provisions in Act 71 and Act 1 along with providing examples of homes the Controller’s office has provided another voice to counteract the drumbeat of "reassessments mean higher taxes" that has been so prevalent in the near decade long tussle over revaluations.