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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. 

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