ShareThis Page

Allegheny County reassessments drag on

Jeremy Boren
| Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

Allegheny County's first batch of property reassessment notices won't arrive in time for Christmas.

Officials acknowledged another delay during a morning status conference with Common Pleas Senior Judge R. Stanton Wettick, who is overseeing the court-ordered, $11 million reassessment.

The property value notices will be mailed Dec. 27 to property owners in Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver. Wettick already allowed a delay in mailing the notices out, from Wednesday to next Monday.

Wettick is adamant that the notices be sent by year's end so financially troubled Pittsburgh may begin receiving tax revenues as soon as possible. The suburbs will come next.

It's unclear when property owners outside Pittsburgh will receive their reassessment notices or tax bills. If the suburban reassessments take too long to complete, Wettick said municipalities will have the option to send tax bills in two installments, instead of one. The first bill would collect half of the 2011 property value. The second would collect the other half, adjusted for the new 2012 values.

"It is not a desirable result," Wettick said of the two-bill approach. "That's my reason for wanting to get as many (properties) done as possible."

Wesley Graham, the county's chief assessor, said his staff encountered problems assessing commercial properties and correcting a mistake that didn't reduce values of 17,000 city properties with steep slopes. He said Christmas vacation could slow the work further.

"You may have to call my wife, your honor, if you want me to be here after Christmas," Graham said.

"Well, the county can fly you up and back," Wettick said.

Wettick wants Graham to certify the reassessment figures by Dec. 28 so property owners can begin making informal appeals in January. The judge could finalize the plan to allow the tax bill installments at another status meeting set for 10 a.m. Monday.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.