If you haven’t been tuning in for the reassessment insanity in Allegheny County, treat yourself.
Tim McNulty and Chris Briem have been owning this beat, and I am loving it. Go read Chris to brush up on the backstory. The new assessments won’t be implemented until 2013, but the story is still worth your time since we’re seeing the same basic fight play out in other parts of the state too.
The larger issue is that the property assessment system in Pennsylvania is totally bonkers. There’s no set schedule for reassessments, and Counties have to vote to reassess. Reassessment is unpopular so politicians rarely do it. But one of the biggest reasons it’s so unpopular is because politicians rarely do it so there’s a big sticker shock when people learn how much their property value has appreciated over 10, 20+ years.
The obvious solution is that reassessment needs to happen on a fixed schedule, and it needs to be automatic. Clearly County officials don’t want to vote for it, they’ve proven that they won’t vote for it, and so we shouldn’t make them. Every x number of years, the process should kick in automatically and the state should pay for it. No excuses.
I’d be pretty mad if I were Rich Fitzgerald too. Allegheny shouldn’t have to reassess if nobody else has to reassess right? But that’s exactly the point. It causes too many distortions to have everybody do it at different times. So put everybody on a regular schedule!