County exec Rich Fitzgerald has released a full statement on the latest reassessment delay, saying he "will not interfere" with court-ordered work by county staff, but will be marshalling efforts to help residents with appeals to lobby Harrisburg for changes.
"That being said, I still think this process is wrong. I think that the judge overstepped his bounds, and I think that we have to continue to fight this fight," he stated.
It's in full after the jump:
PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald released the following statement following the Court’s order delaying the use of the 2012 assessment values until the 2013 tax year for Allegheny County:
“This decision is a win for Allegheny County taxpayers. The county has argued against using these values for months. I was thrilled last week to see the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh School Board step up and join us in this effort, and I am glad that the Court finally saw sense in the argument that the county has made all along,” said Fitzgerald. “That being said, I still think this process is wrong. I think that the judge overstepped his bounds, and I think that we have to continue to fight this fight.”
At the 2:00 p.m. hearing, the Court ordered that the Pittsburgh School District, the City of Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver Borough are permitted to use the 2011 assessment for the purpose of setting their budgets and levying taxes for 2012. He also provided that the 2012 reassessment values be used for the 2013 tax year for those taxing bodies. The Court also stated that it would decide what numbers would be used for the remaining municipalities and school districts in the county as the values are released, but indicated that those numbers will likely be delayed for use in the 2013 tax year as well.
“Last week, the Judge Wettick ordered Allegheny County personnel to report directly to him and to move forward with his orders or be found in contempt. While Judge Wettick may have no respect or consideration for the staff here, I do. If Judge Wettick intends to move forward with this reassessment, I will not interfere with staff actions and what Judge Wettick has ordered to be done. I will, however, provide taxpayers with every tool and piece of information in the county’s arsenal to allow them to fight their reassessment numbers. I will be sitting down with staff over the next few days to work on getting out information related to methodologies, comparables, and property information, as well as any other details we can provide to the public. We will also be looking at whether we can provide legal assistance, appraisal assistance, and other types of outreach and help to walk taxpayers through this, step by step.
“We may have won the first battle, but I am under no impression that the war is anywhere near over. I have received e-mails, phone calls, letters and visits from taxpayers in this county who want to help. The answer is simple. I’m encouraging every Allegheny County resident and business owner to join me in opposing the court-ordered reassessment. Contact the Governor. Contact your State Senator and State Representative. Contact your municipal and school district officials. Tell them that we can’t continue to allow Allegheny County to be singled-out. Tell them that we need a moratorium on court-ordered reassessments and that we need the state to enact comprehensive legislation that will provide uniformity among all counties in the Commonwealth.”