Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 26, 2011
When we wrote “Christmas Reassessment” (below at No. 774) we gave Rich Fitzgerald credit for being shrewd enough to pass a one mill tax increase this year — before the assessment year in which increases would be limited to 105% of the prior year, at least in theory, by Act 146.
However, to listen to the statements he has been giving to the press lately, it appears that he has other ideas. Fitzgerald says that he will refuse to allow reassessment letters to go out after he takes office on January 3 and will order the assessors to refuse to certify the values contained in those letters.
The problem is that the letters are due to be mailed this week to residents of the City of Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver. Moreover, the City and School tax bills must be prepared immediately, with no opportunity to do anything but use the new values. What then will happen if Fitzgerald persists in his protest?
In addition, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has refused to grant Allegheny County’s requests for extraordinary relief, thereby assuring that the current reassessment will not be halted by judicial intervention. Nor will there be assistance from the legislature. Almost all of the members are from other Counties and have no desire to impose Allegheny County’s pain upon their own districts and thus upon themselves.
The City and School bills will be out there and an angry Judge Wettick will order Fitzgerald to certify the values or be in contempt. After a day or so of this, Fitzgerald will meekly announce that his hands are tied. Count on it.
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