ShareThis Page
Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Taxpayers deserve free county information

| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

Since 2001, the Allegheny County website has provided property owners with valuable information regarding their properties. The popular site is transparent and has kept the system honest. While not available to the public, the internal county database costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual maintenance and upgrades. The public website contains less information than what county officials and the county appeals board use on a daily basis. It's time to add some additional features to the free website.

When taxing bodies file appeals on new home-buyers, sales comparables are presented by taxing district attorneys at appeals hearings. The property owner is at a disadvantage because tax dollars provide the county appeal hearing officer and school district attorneys more evidence.

The county must level the playing field in the appeals process and provide taxpayers with more “free” information. For example: Many assessment websites around the country offer a free sales search. This field would assist taxpayers with research for appeal hearings instead of paying someone else to do it. In fact, in 2000, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wanted the then-home rule government to offer the sales search to the public.

Over 7,300 appeal hearings are being scheduled now. It's time for Allegheny County to upgrade the free site. It's the right thing to do.

Mike Suley

Scott

The writer, an assessment consultant, is a former manager of Allegheny County's Office of Property Assessments.

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.

click me