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Another taxing problem

It appears that Allegheny County may have to reassess everyone's property. In other words, the 2002 values may be going by the wayside.

Here is my concern: Houses being assessed based on what they can be sold for (and I am not even sure that is what the basis is) can be problematic. If you live in a so-called nice community, where houses tend to sell for 200k or more, chances are the values are going to go up. Most likely, those communities have good school districts and people are willing to pay for it. So these places may end up with even more tax money, which does not seem fair to those people. Why should Sally Smith have to pay another few hundred dollars a year just because her next-door neighbor sold his house for a small fortune AND because she keeps up with her house?

If you are in my situation, living in an area with declining property values and a crappy school district, we have the opposite problem. If houses are reassessed for what they can be or have been sold for, those communities will have even less money, thus making the community less appealing, with fewer amenities and, most likely, an even worse school district. When we bought our house seven years ago, it was assessed at about 5k to 7k more than what we paid for it. We did not appeal, because we thought the higher value may help us sell our house for that amount in a few years (our original plan). Yet if we tried to sell our house today, I am quite confident we would not get out of it what we paid for it, let alone the assessed value. Remember we tried to sell our house two summers in a row.

So on the one hand, why should I pay what I am paying in taxes? But on the other hand, if most everyone's value goes down, my town will be in even bigger trouble.

But maybe I am just not getting it.



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