Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding The "Asses" In Assessments

Howard Hanna's televised tour of homes featured a distinctive property -- 899 Persimmon Road, Sewickley Heights -- this morning.

The asking price, $3.8 million, seems reasonable for an 8-bedroom, 6-bath home in excellent condition, located on more than 10 acres of prime Sewickley Heights land (a "meticulous landmark estate," according to the broker, along the type of street where homes are titled by "personal residence trusts").

The current assessed value of the home, determined by the County of Allegheny: $1.2 million. Which is roughly what it sold for -- in 1993.

The Howard Hanna website indicates the current owner pays $29,950 in annual property taxes. This means the underassessment generates an annual windfall approximating $60,000 for this property's owner.

When Dan Onorato and Rich Fitzgerald boast about preserving the current property assessment structure in Allegheny County, this is the immoral and regressive taxation system they are defending. Political ambition might explain their positions. How they persuade an elected official with Bob Macey's district, or Nick Futules' district, or Charles Martoni's district -- districts in which the average resident earns less than a privileged property owner evades in property taxes through inaccurate assessments -- to support this level of inequity is difficult to understand. Can anyone provide an explanation?

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Right on.

That's 'per year' money.