Tuesday, October 20, 2009

County Councilman Introduces Assessment Bill

Allegheny County Councilman Chuck McCullough says he will introduce legislation at Tuesday’s council meeting that includes both a long and a short-term solution to the county’s property value reassessment battle. The measure would force the county to launch a neighborhood-by-neighborhood adjustment of the current property values for use in 2010 while at the same time launching a full reassessment of every property in the county. Those new assessed values would be released in 2011 for homeowner review and appeal. They would be put into effect in 2012. The bill also allows the county solicitor to go after any taxing body that violates the state anti-windfall laws and it allows for a three-year phase-in of any taxes that are increased due to reassessment. McCullough calls tat his “anti sticker shock” provision. The introduction will come just 30 hours after an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge heard arguments in a case that will eventually set a timeline for a county-wide reassessment. A State Supreme Court ruling struck down the county’s base-year assessment system this summer and then sent the issue back to the lower court. McCullough says while he knows judge Stanton Wettick will have final say in the matter he hopes the judge will take his proposal into consideration before issuing a ruling. During closing arguments Wettick wondered why he had not seen such a proposal from the County Executive. McCullough is the Republican At-Large member of the heavily Democratic controlled council. He says it is unclear how much support he has but he says he has been in contact with the Executive’s office while drafting the legislation.

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