Judge Orders County to Continue with Reassessment
Judge R. Stanton Wettick will decide Thursday which assessment values to use this year.
Allegheny County Judge R. Stanton Wettick smacked down county officials Tuesday by ordering them to continue working on the new property reassessments.
On Tuesday, Wettick said residents who have already received the new assessments must abide by them, despite last week's declaration by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald that the numbers were "null and void."
According to WPXI, Wettick decided not to hold Fitzgerald in contempt, but said he would hold county officials in contempt if they don't move forward with the reassessment process.
On Thursday, Wettick is scheduled to decide on a request from Pittsburgh City Council to delay using the values for another year, according to WPXI.
“This order is just more evidence of the court overreaching its bounds,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “This is an unelected judge, who is not even standing for retention and chose, instead, to go into senior judge status, who is now acting as the executive and legislative bodies of this county.
“If the court believes that removing the elected officials from this process and requiring county staff to report to him directly will result in my stopping this fight—the court can think again."
Whether Fitzgerald and the county have any legal grounds to stand on is questionable at best. Still he promised they would use any legal response needed to stop the assessment.
“I can assure taxpayers that we are evaluating this order and will continue to explore each and every avenue that is available to fight this Allegheny County-only reassessment.”