Allegheny County has been awarded $5.5 million from the Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Pittsburgh has gotten $2 million - the minimum permitted under law because the city and area have barely been hit by this national crisis.
It's ironic to me that Allegheny County is whining about needing to increase property taxes when the rest of the nation is severely suffering with foreclosed homes and abandoned properties. Shouldn't we be doing relatively well? Why is the county having a hard time balancing its budget? Does it have to do with a new sports facility?
Well, Allegheny County, here's some extra money for your budget. Under the act, the money is intended for "states and localities to buy foreclosed homes standing empty, rehabilitate foreclosed properties and stabilize the housing market." I'm sure that Onorato can find some way to justify spending this money on roads and bridges. Houses are adjacent to roads after all, and you can't have a stable housing market without nice roads.
I will end this post with a (lengthy) plea to County Council:
I don't care if you raise property taxes, but pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top, re-assess property values. I'm echoing the Pittsburgh Comet here and I whole-heartedly agree with him.
Heck, you may find out that you don't need to raise the millage rate if your collecting money on housing values that actually reflect the cost of housing in this area. Pittsburgh and Allegheny County did not as a whole experience the housing boom of areas like Boston and San Francisco. However, certain neighborhoods have, like the South Side, and certain neighborhoods have had plumetting housing values over the past 6 years. It's ridiculous to double-penalize folks who live in houses whose values have dropped significantly, while double-rewarding folks like me whose property values have increased. Make me pay my fair share. Because I guarantee that I'm not about to make a donation in good faith to the county.