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Allegheny County residents sound off on potential property tax reassessment

Allegheny County residents sound off on potential property tax reassessment
Allegheny County residents sound off on potential property tax reassessment 02:56

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Wednesday night was a chance for people to let Allegheny County leaders know how they feel about a potential re-assessment of everyone's property taxes.

The county hasn't done one since 2012.

Wednesday's session was just an informational meeting.

Some are concerned about how a countywide reassessment could impact taxpayers, especially seniors and other people on fixed incomes, but several people came out to say they want more frequent, regular and fair property assessments.

"We are losing population. You do this. You have one-third of the population whose property tax assessments go up, people are going to leave. I'm going to leave. I have a house that is assessed at $300,000. I'm paying 8,500 a year," Jefferson Hills resident Lisa Schwartz said.

"We are the largest county in the entire country that does not do regular reassessments, something that we used to do. It is time to end this bizarre oversight. And do frequent, fair assessments," Pittsburgh's Jack Billings said.

"This is not a fair system. Why should some people like my friends pay unfairly high taxes, while I get to skate by on an assessment that is way too low?" Christopher Bean asked.

Borrasso: Do you think things need to change? People were saying they want regular property reassessments annually. Do you agree with that?

Councilman Sam DeMarco: "Not at this time. I have an open mind. I'm trying to gather information and data to make a decision.

"Twenty-point-four percent of Allegheny County's population, over 249,000, are seniors. You have people on fixed incomes. They are in homes. We don't want to have them forced out of their homes."

The council heard from Lackawanna County, which is doing its own reassessment, but it's a much smaller county. They expect it to take four to five years to collect data and cost $5 million.

Allegheny County has done reassessments over the years, but there's no requirement to do one or a framework from the state.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is suing to try and force a reassessment, which is already struggling financially, and losing millions of dollars because property values for several Downtown office buildings are plummeting.

Councilwoman Bethany Hallam introduced a bill to mandate when reassessments have to happen. She says a reassessment would be triggered when the numbers are less than 85% accurate. 

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