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New Property Assessments Baffle Many

The Allegheny County property reassessment results are causing many to question how the work was conducted.

The bizarre property reassessments coming from Allegheny County and the company it hired to do the work are causing many residents and municipal leaders to ask if they did the job right.

Several residents have contacted Chartiers Valley Patch through social media to note strange neighborhood discrepancies, skyrocketing land values and all-out mistakes that raise serious questions about the accuracy of the county-wide reassessment.

Property owners living in the South Hills and some said their land values doubled – in some cases tripled – while their building values remained the same. Other said the assessment had incorrect square footage or claimed they had basements or more bathrooms than are in the home.

Chartiers Valley Patch has filed an Open Records request with Allegheny County to release the total values for , , , and the so residents will know how their property compares to the average increase.

The numbers appear to be just as baffling for the municipalities.

Scott Township Manager Denise Fitzgerald said she is still crunching the numbers to see how they will have to adjust their millage rates next year. But she doesn’t expect the current numbers will hold steady with the massive number of reviews and appeals that residents are scheduling.

“It’s all over the map,” Fitzgerald said.

That’s also the case in Heidelberg, which has seen strange variations. Borough Manager Joe Kauer pointed to an industrial park on Ellsworth Avenue that went from being assessed at $750,000 in 2002 and increased to $2.4 million this year. Meanwhile, other commercial parcels were slashed in half while many homes increased substantially.

“I don’t think it’s possible to get it right,” Heidelberg Council President Ray Losego said. “How many times have we done this?”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Cole Layer Trumble is conducting the majority of the reassessments and one of its workers, Wesley Graham, is serving as the chief assessment officer. The newspaper reported that the company and county is being forced to disclose how it evaluated properties before Monday.

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Mike Jones February 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
The P-G is reporting that Allegheny County will hold some of its hearings at Kane Hospital in Scott Township. To schedule your informal review, call 412-350-4600.
Bill February 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I just called to schedule an assessment appeal meeting at one of the Kane hospital sights and the person doing the scheduling knew nothing about the county using these sights.. i guess that is the same reason my assessment is wrong. One hand does not know what the other hand is doing!

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