Council to continue study of tax-exempt properties
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Allegheny County Council will schedule additional meetings on the status of tax-exempt real estate early next year.
"We're not going to let this issue die," Councilman John DeFazio, D-Shaler, said Tuesday. He chaired an initial hearing on Nov. 11 that took testimony on the status of the $1.6 billion in tax-exempt properties owned by UPMC, which is both the largest private employer and the largest property owner in the county.
Mr. DeFazio said he planned to confer both with council members and staffers and with county Executive Rich Fitzgerald before scheduling more hearings. It is likely that future sessions would examine the tax-exempt status of several nonprofits at once, he said.
Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon, warned that council's probe into nonprofits could harm institutions that are among the region's major employers.
She pointed to the announcement last week of Moody's Investors Service, a debt-rating agency, that warned that the county's review of tax-exempt properties "is a credit negative" for nonprofit organizations.
The report issued Thursday noted that nonprofits would have to spend time and money to address county challenges to their tax-exempt status. "This could have catastrophic effects on employment in the county," Ms. Heidelbaugh said at a county council meeting.
First Published December 19, 2012 12:00 am