Judge refuses to order Allegheny County to use homeowners' appraisals for values
The judge overseeing Allegheny County's property reassessment on Monday rejected a request to compel the county to accept homeowner-provided certified appraisals as definitive evidence of their property value.
The owners of eight homes sued the county and its Board of Property Assessment and Appeals last month, claiming that hearing officers improperly ignored credible evidence from homeowners who appealed their property reassessments. The lawsuit alleged that certified appraisals presented as evidence by homeowners did not receive proper consideration and that homeowners were given no explanation why that happened.
The plaintiffs' attorney argued to Senior Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. that if a homeowner presents a certified appraisal, the hearing officer should be required to accept that value as the assessed value unless a taxing body presents its own certified appraisal.
Wettick disagreed and in an eight-page ruling wrote that case law “does not support the plaintiffs' claim that in a single-expert hearing, the hearing officer cannot assess the property at any fair market value other than the appraiser's recommended fair market value.”
“It's what we expected,” said county solicitor Andrew Szefi. “My only hope is that people with credible appraisals are (appealing) to the Board of Viewers instead of relying on this flawed class-action suit.”
The judge did not throw out the lawsuit but declined to immediately require the county to retroactively accept all certified appraisals as the proper assessed values.
Plaintiffs' attorney David Huntley said he disagreed with the ruling in declining to grant an injunction and said the case “absolutely” will continue.
“We're disappointed, but we still believe our case has merit,” Huntley said. “This was really just a request for a preliminary injunction.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- McKeesport man accused of firing at child to stand trial
- East Allegheny may meet this week with education association
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Erie attorney named trustee for bankrupt Homestead Cemetery
- Ankle replacement makes UPMC McKeesport history
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Charges held against suspect in McKeesport market robbery, assault
- Oil prices slip on persistent fears of glut
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- McKeesport man charged with sex assault on 13-year-old girl