Rich Lord has the story on what will be the biggest municipal issue in Allegheny County through the rest of the year, outside of budget woes at school districts. Yup, reassessments. Washington County got a reprieve, but not its neighbor to the north:
Legislation that would put an indefinite hold on Washington County's property reassessment -- but would do nothing to stall Allegheny County's -- passed the General Assembly Thursday and is on its way to Gov. Tom Corbett.
The legislation could free the Washington County Commissioners from a court mandate to hire a reassessment vendor next week. State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, said that would have entailed a non-refundable $750,000 downpayment on an $8 million bill.
"The county is elated beyond belief," said Mr. White.
He said the legislation originally called for a statewide moratorium on reassessments, only until Nov. 30, 2012. But it was rewritten in the Senate to cover only Washington County and to extend the moratorium until the legislature passes reassessment reform -- both changes Mr. White opposed.
The House vote was 189-7, following a Senate vote the same day of 38-11. Gov. Corbett's press office could not immediately say whether he planned to sign the bill.
On Monday, the House voted to create task forces to draft legislation that would create statewide best practices for property reassessment. Mr. White said there is reason to believe that will lead to passage of reassessment standards next year.
"Everybody says, 'Oh, the legislature hasn't acted in 40 years, they haven't done anything about it,'" said Mr. White. "This issue is now on the front burner."