Details offered on Allegheny County appeal process

March 8, 2012 5:45 am

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Allegheny County residents received information on appealing their reassessed property values at a town hall meeting last Thursday at McKeesport Area High School. Meetings will continue to be held in all 13 county council districts through part of April.

The next meeting is set for 7:30 tonight at Bethel Park High School, 309 Church Road. Another will be held at 7 p.m. March 15 in the Penn Hills School District's Linton Middle School, 260 Aster St.

"The last time we went through [countywide reassessment], in 2001-2002, people were upset because of the mistakes that were made," county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in opening remarks. Mistakes also have been made during the current property analysis, he said, with assessments in some of the poorest communities going up by 75 percent.

The county wants to give taxpayers the information they need to appeal, said Mr. Fitzgerald, who opposed the 2012 court-ordered reassessment.

The new property values won't go into effect until 2013, which gives property owners about a year to resolve issues with their new values, said educator Melinda Freed, who explained the appeals process for the county.

Residents are able to file for a formal hearing or informal review. But some homeowners have missed the deadline for scheduling informal reviews of their property information, said Amie Downs, Allegheny County communications director.

An informal review is a one-on-one meeting with a representative of the Office of Property Assessment. The deadline for that was Wednesday in some areas, according to the county website.

Property owners were informed of that deadline date in their assessment letters, Ms. Downs said.

After an informal review, taxpayers will receive a notice of findings from that hearing, Ms. Downs said. If they disagree with the findings, they will have 30 days to file a formal appeal, which will be addressed in a hearing before the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review.

The deadline for formal appeals is April 2 throughout the county, she said.

Reassessment notices for homeowners in the northern and western suburbs were to be mailed Wednesday, after a computer glitch delayed them.

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer:
First Published 2012-03-08 04:01:44

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