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Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes

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Monday, May 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Assessment games: Allegheny County's failure to produce and maintain a fair and regular system of property tax assessments — and, in some instances, actively working to undermine that system — has produced what you might expect: local municipalities and school districts using the appeals process to engage in nothing less than spot assessment. This end around is dubious public policy and has the perverse effect of not only pitting neighbor against neighbor but perpetuating unconstitutional taxation. All of this nonsense must stop.

Cost overruns: Now there's another public construction “job” with a plethora of change orders: the new Westmoreland County forensics center. A second round of change orders added almost $95,000 to convert a closed waste-to-energy plant into an office building, bringing change order costs to more than $218,000. Some overruns are expected. But hiking a project's cost by 23 percent is outrageous.

A great program: Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala has initiated a program to educate local police departments in how to deal with autistic people. For the untrained, it can be easy to assume an autistic person is being uncooperative. And that can lead to misunderstandings with bad consequences in police matters. Kudos to a most worthy effort.

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