Pittsburgh's property reassessments leap higher than Allegheny County's

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Reassessments in the City of Pittsburgh far outpaced those in Allegheny County as a whole, according to the newest certified numbers released today by the county.

The value of taxable real estate in the city rose to $20.3 billion, up 48 percent from the $13.6 billion figure that has been used since 2002.

That number compares with a 32 percent jump to $84.5 billion in the value of all taxable property in the county, up from the $64.2 billion current value.

Common Pleas Court Senior Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. has ordered that those new assessment numbers be used by all levels of local government to calculate their 2013 property tax bills. The state Supreme Court, which ordered the county to reassess, assigned Judge Wettick the task of overseeing the controversial project.

The dramatically higher values for Pittsburgh are elements in a good news-bad news story, said Yarone Zober, chief of staff to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

"It looks like the [development] work we have been doing over the course of the last several years has paid off in increasing the total value of the real estate in the city," Mr. Zober said. "But we have to parse the numbers to see how much [of the jump] represents new development and how much is an increase on existing buildings.

"Our goal will be to cut the millage rate [for 2013] as much as possible," he said. "That should mean that most homeowners should see their tax burden lowered."

State anti-windfall laws forbid local governments from collecting additional property taxes as the result of reassessment. Municipal officials will have to trim millage rates to make them revenue-neutral, although they have the option of then taking separate votes to increase their 2013 collections by up to 5 percent.

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Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.


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