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County Councilman: Reassessments Flawed

One Allegheny County property owner said he has proof that the property value reassessment system is flawed.

County Councilman Matt Drozd (R-District 1) said on Tuesday that he received strangely fluctuating property value changes for four identical vacant lots, numbered 203-206 on Perrysville Avenue in Pittsburgh's North Side.

"[203] tripled in value, 204 dropped in value by one-half, and the other two lots tripled and quadrupled in value," said Drozd, noting that each property is an empty lot and all four have similar dimensions. Drozd said it's possible the assessors didn't actually visit the properties, which were each valued between $2,000 and $2,500 before the reassessment.

"It validates and substantiates all these complaints that we're getting across the county," said Drozd.

Drozd said he has an appeal of the quirky evaluation set to be heard on February 7, but in the meantime, he's drafting a motion in County Council that would make the appeals process easier. He said he'd like to reduce the amount of paperwork property owners must produce in order to appeal.

"The way it's set up now, it's almost set for failure," Drozd said of the appeals process. "And you can see these assessments, to begin with, they're flawed. They just aren't right."

Drozd also called on the state legislature to make reforms to the property assessment process.

In Allegheny County, the use of new property values is on hold until at least 2013, due to an order from Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick. However, property owners who wish to appeal their newly assessed values may do so over the course of the year.