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City tax bills are inequitable, in part due to county’s unchanged assessments and hot home prices

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Some homeowners in the same neighborhoods pay very different amounts in property taxes, despite similarly built homes
(0:00 - 7:54)

The housing market has become more and more competitive during the pandemic, but even sale prices exceeding the listed amount can’t explain why property taxes in Pittsburgh vary wildly, even among similar homes in the same neighborhood.

Rich Lord is the economic development reporter with PublicSource and has been investigating this issue.

“If we want to do property taxes in a progressive way, the taxes should be based on the value of the homes,” says Lord. “The question is how you calculate the current value of a home. If a home hasn't sold for 20 years, but 20 years ago it sold for $75,000, is it worth $75000?”

Diamonte Walker leaves the Urban Redevelopment Authority after five years with the agency
(10:15 - 22:30)

Diamonte Walker has been a prime force in shifting Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority from large-scale developments to neighborhood-level projects. She’s leaving her post as deputy executive director April 14 to join the private sector.

“If you listen to the community, they will tell you exactly what they want and exactly what they envision,” says Walker. “What I've tried to do is have the URA be understood as a tool that can help to achieve those goals.”

Although her new position is not yet public, Walker has said it will be an opportunity to support residents’ economic mobility through higher education.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
Boen Wang is a writer, audio producer, and MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. His written work appeared in The Sunday Long Read, The Fourth River, Inheritance, and elsewhere; his audio work won the “Best New Artist” award at the 2020 Third Coast International Audio Festival, was selected as one of The Bello Collective’s “100 Outstanding Podcasts of 2020,” and was shortlisted for the 2021 HearSay Audio Festival Prize. Visit his website at boen.cool.
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