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Battle Over Property Reassessments Heats Up

Judge orders use of new 2012 reassessments the day after Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald declared them null and void.

It looks like the battle over Allegheny County’s reassessments is just warming up.

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Judge R. Stanton Wettick has ordered the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public Schools to use the new 2012 reassessments.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who took office Tuesday, declared the new reassessments invalid and announced that the county would continue using the base year assessments from 2002.

During a news conference, Fitzgerald said new notices would be sent out Thursday, and those are “the ones that matter.”

He was clear: Despite a court order mandating a property tax reassessment, he is following  laws.

But not according to Don Driscoll, the attorney representing the homeowners who sued to have the reassessments. KDKA reports that Driscoll has asked Judge Wettick to hold Fitzgerald in contempt of court.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Judge Wettick noted in his new order that he still has a status conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday and at that court session, he has agreed to consider a request from Pittsburgh public schools to use the base-year numbers for one more year.

In the meantime, Judge Wettick’s order notes "the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh School District are barred from setting millage and calculating taxes for 2012 unless the millage and taxes are based on the 2012 assessed values."

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