Allegheny County homeowners take 'why bother?' stance on appeal period
Allegheny County home-owners are not nearly as litigious as in 2012, when they filed more than 100,000 appeals of real estate assessments.
Through last week, the county Board of Property Assessment and Review logged 467 appeals. Homeowners can appeal 2013 values until April 1.
County officials expect the real estate tax to generate $331.7 million this year.
“I figured, why bother? You pay for an attorney, and then the chances of them denying it again are high,” said Patricia Colello, 72, of White Oak, who appealed her assessment on a vacant lot near her home last year. Its value rose from $12,000 to $26,000, and her appeal changed nothing.
County Council in February approved a plan from Executive Rich Fitzgerald to allow homeowners to appeal this year, even if a property owner lost at the county's Board of Property Assessment and Review once. Typically, property owners cannot appeal during the year that an assessment takes effect.
This year, anyone is eligible to appeal again unless the Board of Viewers, an arm of Common Pleas Court, issued a final decision.
“The county executive and County Council recognized that having property owners go through the court-ordered reassessment process has been extremely difficult for everyone. There are property owners who may not have had an opportunity to appeal, didn't get the results they had hoped for or didn't understand what their assessment meant to their taxes,” said Fitzgerald's spokeswoman Amie Downs.
“This appeal period essentially gives those owners another chance to have their correct value put on their property.”
The county reassessed roughly 600,000 residential and commercial properties in 2012 for 2013 taxing purposes under a state Supreme Court order. Fitzgerald opposed the reassessment.
People who did not appeal last year would have had to wait until 2014 if Fitzgerald had not amended the rules.
“Well, the low number is because the only people filing are the people that never did. I think it's the people who didn't appeal before,” said attorney Robert Peirce, who handles real estate appeals. “I think the people that lost to the (Board of Property Assessment and Review) already took an appeal to Common Pleas Court.”
Downs said that even if a property owner appealed to the Board of Viewers, he or she can take a second crack at getting a value reduced through the Board of Property Assessment.
If the owner gets a favorable ruling from the county before the Board of Viewers rules, the homeowner can keep that number by withdrawing their court appeal.
The county will refund the difference if an owner wins a lower assessment, Downs said.
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.
- Thief’s attorney blames Rivers Casino; judge isn’t swayed
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Fugitive arrested at Plum motel on drug, gun charges
- Boy Scouts’ end to ban on gay leaders unnerves religious groups
- Man shot several times in Allentown neighborhood
- City, ex-manager of Pittsburgh police Office of Personnel and Finance reach settlement
- 2 firefighters injured in Millvale house fire
- ‘Turf battle’ blamed in fights that canceled Carrick church festival
- Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition
- Remains of 4 early colonial leaders discovered at Jamestown
- W.Va. authorities charge 87 with drug trafficking