Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Judge Rejects County's Assessment Plan

A visibly upset judge has given Allegheny County until Friday to come up with a new plan to reassess all 570,000 properties within an acceptable time frame. In November Judge Stanton Wettick outlined a 4-year rotating assessment system to replace the county’s current base year plan that has been ruled unconstitutional. He also left the door open to the county creating a plan of its own to have all the work done by 2012. That order included an order that the county report its progress December 2nd. At the meeting yesterday the county offered a two and a half page plan that would not finish the work until 2013. The judge asked the county why it did not comply with his order and then asked the county chief assessor Edward Schoenberger if he had read the order. His response was that he had read “half of it,” saying his supervisors told him it did not comply with the state’s uniformity clause. County Solicitor Michael Wojcik apologized to the judge if the county had offended him. Judge Wettick quickly ordered a second meeting Friday. The county refused to comment on the proceedings but lawyer for the homeowners who originally filed suit, Ira Weiss, says he does not know what to expect Friday. He says so far the county has “thumbed its nose at the court” and it is “lucky [Wettick is] such a patient judge.” He says the county has meet the judge’s order with “petulance and defiance.” Donald Driscoll is another lawyer for the complainants. He says the plan offered by the county is “totally unacceptable” and the county “must make amends” to the tax- payers that have been over paying for years.

No comments: