Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Price Is Right New Property Assessments Sent Out

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Price Is Right New Property Assessments Sent Out

Article excerpt

Taxpayers in Washington County can expect to find their new property assessments in the mail beginning in the next several weeks, but homeowners should not assume the reassessment will mean an increase in taxes, said the county's chief assessor.

Brad Boni and other county officials made their 10th and final presentation to the public in Peters last week, hoping to clear up misconceptions and alert property owners about what to expect with the first reassessment in more than 30 years.

"We're looking to give people a transparent overview of this project," Mr. Boni told a crowd of several hundred residents who turned out at the Peters Middle School to hear the presentation. Other presentations have been held throughout the county since November.

The county has contracted with Tyler Technologies to reassess approximately 120,000 properties during the past several years after the McGuffey and Washington school districts sued the county in 2008 over its failure to reassess properties in a timely manner.

"We realize there are value inequities on our tax roll, because it's been so long between reassessments," Mr. Boni said.

The goal of the reassessment is to assign equitable values to all properties, "so no one is paying more or less than their fair share."

Data has indicated that about 80,000 properties have undergone improvements since the early 1980s, when the last assessment was completed, Mr. Boni said. Those properties were visited in person by data collectors for Tyler Technologies last year.

New tax bills won't be sent out until next year, Mr. Boni said, while this year will be reserved for establishing values and sorting through appeals.

Property owners will begin receiving their property value notices in March and they will have until the end of June to contact the county for an informal review, which can also be done by telephone.

Mr. Boni warned residents not to go into sticker shock when they see the new values.

"The old values are out of date," he reminded residents. "The new assigned value should be close to what you would sell your house for. …

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