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Appeals & Allegheny County

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Letter to the Editor
Thursday, May 8, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

In his letter “Realtors, appeals & disclosure I”, Michael J. Suley notes the thorny issue of Mt. Lebanon government challenging property assessments based upon recent sales of homes, something which has come to be called “the newcomer's tax,” as the phenomenon does not ensnare longtime residents.

This issue, and that of reassessments in general, serves to illustrate why many are leaving Allegheny County for greener pastures in neighboring jurisdictions.

The state Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, decreed that only Allegheny County would be required to meet the standard of regularly reassessing properties. Butler County has not performed a reassessment since 1969 and does not challenge its assigned home values based upon recent sales. What elected official of Butler County who would like to be returned to office would advocate for a reassessment, given how it savages residents and its vast expense?

The secret that Allegheny County would prefer individuals not recognize is that great communities like Cranberry, Butler County, not only offer taxes that I have found to be about half of those imposed in my overtax-and-overspend community, in which commissioners and the school board have taken leave of their senses, but that reassessments are not an issue because they are not performed.

Take it from me — one who had to fight for a just outcome, including expending time, effort and a $106 filing fee for a second-level appeal of my latest reassessment. The Allegheny County homeowner is being crushed through not only tax liability but a reassessment system inflicted on it exclusively. It is madness.

Oren M. Spiegler

Upper St. Clair

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