One and a Half Cheers for County Assessment Office

For years and, most recently, over the months leading up to the mailing of court ordered reassessments to Allegheny County property owners, the Allegheny Institute has urged the Assessment Office to include information on the new assessment notice that would show the owner how his/her assessment change compares to the average for the County, school district and municipality. With that information the property owner would know immediately whether tax bills for the property were about to rise, stay the same or go down, assuming the taxing bodies all rolled back millage rates to eliminate any revenue windfall resulting from the reassessment.

The Assessment Office has taken a partial step toward providing property owners the information the Institute has been recommending. The Office has created a link on its web site in the "What Do You Want to Know" section that enables property owners to look up the increase in assessment values for their municipality and school district and offers the owners guidance as to how to figure out if their County, school district and municipal tax bills are going up, down or staying the same.

This is a major breakthrough given the County’s antipathy toward the reassessment. Of course, the County is not advertising this feature heavily and taxpayers who are not aggressive in searching the Assessment Office web site will not know about the link, especially since it is buried in the menu options on the "What Do You Want to Know" page. The County should be touting the feature heavily and making it far more prominent on the web site. And it should be making preparations to put all the necessary information on future assessment notices.

Washington County Assessment Appeal Thrown Out

In a long running drama remarkably similar to the case in Allegheny County, a Commonwealth Court judge denied Washington County’s appeal of a November 2011 lower court order requiring the County to begin a property reassessment immediately.


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