PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County taxpayers will pay more in taxes than the law allows, according to a charge made by County Controller Chelsa Wagner on Thursday.

Wagner said County Council failed to use the latest reassessment values in setting the tax rate.

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Wagner said county taxpayers are about to be overtaxed.

“We’re very concerned that the average county taxpayer right now is on target to be overcharged,” Wagner said.

Wagner said county tax bills going out in the next few days reflect a higher tax rate than allowed by the law because County Council has not adjusted the millage rate to reflect the new reassessment.

“We believe the County is on target to receive a windfall of between $30 and $38 million,” Wagner said.

Although council reduced the millage rate from 5.69 mills to 4.73 mills late last year, given the latest reassessment values, Wagner said it must come down to 4.23 mills to avoid an illegal windfall.

That represents about $50 on every $100,000 in property value.

Wagner said if County Council does not act, she may sue the county to stop the illegal tax windfall.

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“That is certainly something that is on the table if this isn’t resolved,” Wagner said.

In a late afternoon press conference, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald rejected Wagner’s claim that the millage was too high.

“Right now these numbers are good,” he said.

And Fitzgerald sees no reason to change the tax rate.

“This year it’s at 4.73 – that’s going to be the tax rate for 2013,” Fitzgerald added. “And it’s a revenue neutral number.”

If the County Controller takes the county to court, Fitzgerald says the county will deal with that when it happens.


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