Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harrisburg City; Increased property taxes, sewer, water and trash

The City of Harrisburg is considering multiple tax increases in order to avoid bankruptcy, according to the Patriot-News today:
Buried in the 25-page report is a list of "potential deficit reduction actions" the city could take. They were not mentioned in the news conference nor fully explained in the report.

Those potential actions include doubling the parking tax, increasing water rates by 20 percent, increasing sewer rates by 20 percent, doubling sanitation fees, doubling parking violation fines, instituting five furlough days a year for employees, increasing property taxes by 117 percent in 2011, and selling the city’s parking garages.

All of these items are considered high already by local residents and investors. Increasing these items would create an negative impact on property values, especially for investment properties. All of these items would reduce NOI (net operating income), which is a major component of valuation.

As a silver lining, once the new taxes take effect, property owners could apply for a reduction in their assessment. Assessment reduction is a difficult process and involves many variables. These new taxes are only recommendations at this point, so it is impossible at this point to know exactly what will take place or how much it will affect real estate values.
Update - click here for more discussion of how this proposal would affect assessments.
Update - click here for a discussion of the effects on valuation and sales.
Update - click here for a discussion of the potential for increased tax sales and related problems.

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