Attorneys decry removal of Allegheny County assessment website
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Allegheny County property owners who want to appeal their latest tax assessments no longer can find their previous assessments online — the county removed the older figures, leading some attorneys to complain.
“It's a lot easier for taxing bodies if they know what the history is,” said attorney John Vogel, who represents several school districts and some homeowners who are appealing reassessments. “It's guidance.”
County officials last week took down the website showing the 2012 figures. The reassessment website shows the new, reassessed values being used for 2013.
County spokeswoman Amie Downs said property owners can request the missing information online, and county officials will email it to them.
“We made the changes to the county website because having both years up was causing confusion for property owners. Property owners can request the prior year's information through a link on the website or by contacting the Office of Property Assessment,” Downs said.
Downs said no property owners have complained to her office or the Office of Property Assessments.
The county and the Board of Viewers are processing more than 100,000 appeals filed in 2012 as a result of the court-ordered property reassessment. The county reassessed about 600,000 residential and commercial properties in 2012 for 2013 taxing purposes under a state Supreme Court order.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald approved legislation that allows property owners to appeal in 2013.
Attorney Noah Fardo said that while the county allows homeowners to request 2012 data, it's not easy for attorneys who handle hundreds of assessment appeals to email the county for each case.
“There's still a lot of base-year appeals being decided. None of the attorneys have all the information they need unless they keep that information up,” said Fardo, whose firm filed about 1,000 appeals of assessments. “When you're negotiating the 2013 appeals with a lot of school districts, knowing the prior assessment is crucial.”
Nearly every step of the property assessment has been contentious. Last month, the judge overseeing the reassessment rejected a request to compel the county to accept homeowner-provided certified appraisals as definitive evidence of their property values.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Boat owners prepare for winterization
- Hill District nonprofit’s finances are taking another dive
- Natural history museum in the red
- Pittsburgh diocese extends peace offering to Catholics, non-Catholics
- Food stamp fraud, bloat overshadow debate on farm bill
- Newsmaker: Judith Tobe
- Companies are rethinking their holiday parties with different kinds of venues
- Schmotzer says he got things done in Baldwin-Whitehall job
- North Park Lake Trail to be widened along Ingomar Road
- Money being raised to furnish Uniontown Marine’s home
- Peers stunned by indictment of lab director from Upper St. Clair