Allegheny County releases final reassessment figures

| Friday, March 9, 2012

Although not as welcome as an income tax refund check but as distinctive, the last batch of property reassessment notices for Allegheny County property owners hit some Alle-Kiski Valley mailboxes yesterday.

According to spokeswoman Amie Downs, the county sent out the remainder of the court-ordered reassessment notices to 30 municipalities in the suburbs north and west of Pittsburgh. They include most local ones: Brackenridge, Cheswick, Harrison, Indiana Township, Springdale, Springdale Township, Aspinwall, Blawnox, East Deer, Fawn, Fox Chapel, Harmar, O'Hara, Sharpsburg, Tarentum and West Deer.

This final mailing of notices was stalled by several days when a computer malfunction did not print values on some of the 160,000 notices scheduled for mailing last week.

The state Supreme Court ordered Allegheny County to reassess because high-value properties tended to be underassessed and low-value ones tended to be overassessed. The court said continuing to use values from a 2002 reassessment would be unconstitutional.

But, according to a recent county analysis, property values have increased more dramatically among properties in Allegheny County's less-affluent municipalities compared to wealthier ones in the $11 million reassessment.

County officials have said the reassessment may contain errors, but that overall it meets industry accuracy standards.

Earlier this month, the county presented the first three of 13 town hall meetings to provide information on filing appeals and field questions on the reassessments in McKeesport, Monroeville and Bethel Park.

More meetings will be announced for the remaining Allegheny County Council districts.

New property values were first sent to Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver homeowners in late December, prompting a court battle that delayed use of the new assessments until 2013.

More than 35,000 property owners are appealing to reduce the court-ordered assessments.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review contributed to this report.

Additional Information:

About appeals

Property owners who want to appeal their assessments should call the Office of Property Assessments public information line at 412-350-4600.

Additionally, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is looking for property owners who suspect incorrect assessments.

Wagner announced earlier this year that her office is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the county's property-reassessment process.

Property owners whose new assessment numbers differ greatly from similar properties nearby or a recent sales price, or who otherwise believe their new values have been calculated incorrectly, can call Wagner's reassessment hot line at 4-12-350-7618 or email .

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