Is Real Estate Mayhem on the Horizon in Allegheny County?
Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) Executive Dan Onorato's plan to "cap" the 2006 real estate tax re-assessments at 4 percent suffered a setback on May 12, 2005, when the Honorable R. Stanton Wettick ruled that, "without question," the Onorato's plan "violates the Home Rule Charter of Allegheny County, the Second Class County Charter Law, Pennsylvania's laws governing assessments of real property, and the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution."
At the same time, however, Judge Wettick did not require the county to certify its "proposed" assessed values and left the door open for the county to create a new assessment plan.
Since Judge Wettick issued his opinion and order, Onorato has publicly reaffirmed his intention to lower property taxes, whether through a "cap" or other means, and has vowed not to be deterred by Judge Wettick's decision.
As a result, taxpayers are left with even greater uncertainty regarding the county, town and school district taxes they will be expected to pay in 2006. In apparent response to Judge Wettick's decision, Allegheny County Council has passed legislation that will give property owners 45 days to file an appeal after the certified 2006 assessments are mailed. It is uncertain, however, when such assessments will be mailed. It may be months.
We would be pleased to discuss the effect of the court's ruling and the proposed reassessment on any property which you or your business own in Allegheny County and whether it will be appropriate for you to file a tax assessment appeal. We will continue to keep you updated of developments in this matter.
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