Government & Politics
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Hundreds of City Homeowners Winning Assessment Appeals

As the Allegheny County reassessment appeals process draws to a close on December 20th, about 2,500 Pittsburghers are saving an average of $26,484 on their higher reassessments.

This comes after the city controller’s office, in conjunction with City Council members William Peduto and Corey O’Connor began a program in February offering free assessment appeal services.

According to Controller Michael Lamb, homeowners have had their new assessments for the 2013 tax year decreased an average of 41 percent.  For example, a homeowner whose assessment increased by $50,000 from the 2002 base year value has had that increase reduced to about $30,000.

Lamb said he expects more city homeowners to have their increased assessments reduced as the appeals process continues.

“Of all the people that we’ve represented, we still have about a little less than 50 hearings waiting. We’ve only got about half of our dispositions back,” said Lamb. “So the percentage as it were that we’re talking about, the numbers we’re talking about are only based upon half of the dispositions."

Lamb said services were open to Pittsburgh residents whose home value was $150,000 or less and included assistance in filling out forms, case preparation and representation during hearings.

He said the program did a lot to help out the city’s residents.

“It really helped relieve some stress for a lot of people who were very panicked about the prospect of having to go in and argue about their house and what they thought their house was worth,” said Lamb. “It can be a very stressful situation. I think this program helped to lift some of that stress, particularly off some of our senior citizens who were really concerned about what this was going to do to them financially.”

Lamb said he disagrees with the way land values were decided, and said the assessment didn’t fully take into consideration the individual real estate markets within neighborhoods.

He said through those disagreements, the county did a good job putting together hearings, doing expedited hearings, and fairly responding to the city’s concerns.