Controller releases reassessment "Windfall Watch"; we mess around with it

Published by Andrew McGill on .

Allegheny County controller Chelsa Wagner has launched her "Windfall Watch" website, listing 2013 municipal tax rates and sussing out who is making more money than they should after the countywide reassessment.

Well, sort of. Kudos to Ms. Wagner for putting some vital stats out there -- especially the 2013 municipal tax rates, which haven't been reported anywhere else (except here, of course.)

UPDATE: Well, actually the county treasurer has them up too. Never mind.

But her numbers are already out of date. Ms. Wagner is using assessment values from December, which have changed a bit in the past three months.

And the charts could be a bit better on context. Nowhere does it say which municipalities are actually receiving windfalls, leaving it up for the taxpayer to do the math.

So we did. See the results after the jump.

First things first: Here's the top windfalls in the county, per calculations done with Ms. Wagner's figures.


Table 1 is modified verion of Ms. Wagner's table, with windfall revenues computed. At the far left is the total amount extra the town is getting over the windfall provision, which allows an maximum of 5 percent extra revenue after reassessment. (If it's a negative number, ignore it; they're within the limits.) Her figures show municipalities overcharging residents by $13.6 million.

Table 2 is what the projections look like if Ms. Wagner used current assessment figures. As you can see, the windfalls have dropped a smidge -- down to $13.5 milion. (UPDATE: Thanks for the sharp eyes of Joyce Murdy in O'hara Township, who pointed out that a few 2013 assessed values were switched around. It's been fixed.)

Table 1

Table 2

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