As the deadline nears for informal review requests of property assessments, the City of Pittsburgh is offering help to residents. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced that starting on Monday, January 9, 14 senior centers and one location in the City County Building will be staffed with at least two people from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
"We'll use city staff and rotate through and do different shifts, so it will require a city-wide effort. We've already started to reach out to our directors and departments to get involved. We also asked city council and the controller's office to offer assistance and employees as well," said Ravenstahl.
Residents can call 311 to schedule one-on-one meetings with someone who can answer any questions and help with filling out appeals forms. The mayor said that one of the biggest complaints that his office has received is people not knowing how to complete the forms. He added that a pledge from the new county executive to try to halt the process shouldn't be used as an excuse not to pay.
"We need to make sure our residents are prepared. The last thing I want residents to do is to rely on or hope that somehow this is stopped, then not file their appeal. I hope it's stopped. We want to do everything we can to stop it, but we also need to prepare in the event it's not stopped, that you can have your appeal and be heard," said Ravenstahl.
The deadline for informal review requests is Friday, January 13. However, last Friday, Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto formally asked Common Pleas Judge Stanton Wettick, who ordered the reassessment, to delay implementation of the new property values for one year. According to Peduto, Judge Wettick today said that he would consider that request. Peduto said that he asked for the delay to calm property owners' fears.
"As I stated in my letter to him last week, the process, as it stands, will not provide the time necessary for a fair and thorough appeals process," said Councilman Peduto. "I want to thank the Judge for his consideration and offer my assistance in developing an alternative plan."