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Residents to Get Help With Assessment Appeals

A new program will help city residents who are challenging their assessed values.

The plan was announced Monday by Pittsburgh City Council members William Peduto, Corey O'Connor, and City Controller Michael Lamb in Bloomfield at a meeting attended by concerned members of the Bloomfield Citizens Council.

The program will include free one-on-one consultations, legal services, comparable analysis, assistance with appeal filing, and a 50/50 match program for independent appraisals.

Lamb, Peduto and O'Connor estimate the program will cost the city $150,000. A bill to set the money aside will be introduced Tuesday.

Supporters said the proposal is more comprehensive than the one announced by Luke Ravenstahl on Friday. The Mayor's program would split the cost of appraisals with residents who need evidence that the assessment was too high. Lamb said he does not see these as competing programs but rather complimentary programs.

Preparers will set up shop in several community locations including senior centers. Help will also be available at the Controller's office.

Lamb said residents will get help buildings appeal arguments as the prepare for their appeal hearings. He hopes the program will also be able to send a lawyer or city employee to help argue the appeal.

The services will be available to residents whose 2011 assessments were $150,000 or less.