PITTSBURGH -- In response to multiple constituent complaints, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today called on the County Office of Property Assessments to ensure appeal status information is clear and accurate for every property.
Each property listing on the County’s Web page has a tab for appeal information. If an appeal had been filed, the status of the appeal is listed on this page. A legend of appeal statuses is provided, but a Controller’s Office investigation of listings found that, in most cases, the appeal statuses provided on the property listings do not match the examples given in the Appeals Status Legend.
“The complete lack of clarity in appeal status information on the official Web site of the 2013 Court Ordered Reassessment is unacceptable,” Wagner said. “The Office of Property Assessments must make it the top priority to provide clear, consistent information to property owners during this difficult process. We owe fairness and ease to taxpayers, no matter our feelings and opinions on reassessments.”
The image below is the “Legend for the Appeals Tab” provided on the Property Assessments Web site. The problem with this legend is that the statuses for each property are different, Wagner pointed out. Some examples of misleading appeal statuses provided for properties include “Suspend Pending Review,” “Reviewer Approved,” “Board Member Approved,” “Full Board Member Approval,” and “Appeal Entered and Accepted,” all of which do not have an exact match in the Legend provided.
Legend for the Appeals Tab
The appeal has been received and is waiting to be scheduled
The hearing has been conducted and is awaiting review by the appeals board
Pending Board Review
The hearing report has been reviewed by the Board and a recommendation of value has been made. The appeal is placed on the agenda for the full board vote at a public meeting
Full Board Approval
The value has been approved by the full board and posted to the assessment system. A Notice of Appeal Disposition (result) will be mailed to the interested parties. When applicable, a value change document is sent to all taxing bodies (County, School District and Municipality) to adjust the market value accordingly.
Did Not Appear
The appellant(s) did not appear for the scheduled hearing. Appeal file is closed.
The appeal was filed after the filing deadline and is rejected
Appeal being Reviewed
The appeal has been received and is being reviewed by office staff
The appeal has been withdrawn by the appellant. No hearing will be scheduled.
At Board of Viewers
An appeal has been filed at the Board of Viewers - Court of Common Pleas and is pending a hearing. No hearing will be conducted at the Board of Property Assessment Appeals.
An appeal filed at the Board of Viewers - Court of Common Pleas is concluded.
“This is Good Government 101,” said Wagner. “Adding confusion or chaos to this process cannot be tolerated.”
Controller Wagner has aggressively pursued oversight of the latest reassessment. Her office is completing an extensive and exhaustive review of the Office of Property Assessments’ performance and the compliance of contractor Tyler Technologies.
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