Pittsburgh controller seeks to offset reassessments with increase in homestead exemption

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Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb wants to increase city and Pittsburgh Public Schools homestead exemptions as a way to help homeowners deal with new property assessments.

Municipalities and school districts are not allowed by law to reap a windfall under the new court-ordered assessments, which take effect in 2013.

Because the city's total property valuation is expected to increase by 20 percent to 30 percent with the new assessments, the city and school district must reduce millage or take other anti-windfall measures.

In a letter today to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, city council members, schools Superintendent Linda Lane and school board members, Mr. Lamb suggested that the city and school district meet the anti-windfall provision in part by increasing the homestead exemption.

"This would not only provide needed relief to city homeowners but will also act as an additional incentive to attract new residents to Pittsburgh. Our city's declining population as seen particularly by drops in the school district's student enrollment, is a problem we must work constantly to address," Mr. Lamb wrote in the letter.

The city and school district exemptions currently are $10,000 and $19,000, respectively, the controller's office said.

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Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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