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Reassessment of the Reassessment by Fitzgerald — Too Little, Too Late?

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 26, 2011

No. 777

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.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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