Fitzgerald Announces First Steps in Addressing Reassessment

Contact:Amie M. Downs, County
412-350-3711 office
412-327-3700 cell

PITTSBURGH – Emphasizing the need to meet state-established deadlines for certification of assessed values, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today that he has directed the certification of the 2011 assessed values for use countywide for 2012 taxation purposes. The 2011 values are based on the 2002 tax year, with adjustments made for new construction and appeal results, which are done each year.

“Earlier this week, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth. The Second Class County Assessment Law and our own Administrative Code requires that certified assessed values be provided to taxing bodies on or before January 15,” said Fitzgerald. “Certification reports were sent out this afternoon to all taxing bodies that will now allow officials to set their tax millage rates, if they have not done so already, and to move forward with their tax billings.”

Characterizing the court-ordered reassessment as chaotic and disastrous, Fitzgerald indicated that when he had the opportunity to review some of the numbers, they were disturbing.

“We’ve all seen the stories about the large numbers, substantial increases, and shocking values from just the 119,000 residential properties. This is the first update of values in a decade, and the increases are simply terrifying to some property owners. Imagine what the rest of the county may look like if we continue down this road,” said Fitzgerald. “We cannot continue to allow Allegheny County to be singled-out while counties around us have gone for decades without a reassessment. The stability that we have brought to Allegheny County over the last decade has shown results, and we cannot allow that progress to be jeopardized through a discriminatory practice.”

Fitzgerald, who was joined by elected officials from the State Senate, State House, County Council, City Council and Pittsburgh School Board, also called on all county municipalities and school districts to join him in his opposition to the court-ordered reassessment. The largest school district in the county, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, has joined him in asking the court to stop this reassessment. Letters are being sent to all 130 municipalities and the other 44 school districts in the county asking them to pass resolutions asking the courts to stop this reassessment, as well as one calling on the Governor and General Assembly to impose a moratorium on singled-out, court-ordered county reassessments until this is addressed on a state level.

Fitzgerald also expressed his belief that the county and its municipalities will, again, see residents and businesses migrate to neighboring counties if the court-ordered reassessment occurs. He did not rule out additional legal action and indicated that his administration will continue to explore all avenues and pursue those that make sense. Finally, Fitzgerald urged citizens to speak up as well.

“I hope that the residents of this county will also join us in this effort. Go to your school board meeting. Talk to your municipal officials. Reach out to your Representatives, Senators and the Governor and let them all know that these steps are important to you and that the court-ordered reassessment cannot be allowed to continue to the detriment of this county.”

# # #