Judge Rules County Must Use 2012 Reassessment, Fitzgerald Not Backing Down
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Judge R. Stanton Wettick issued a ruling early this afternoon that Allegheny County must use the 2012 property assessment values.
KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan reports that the order tells the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public School District that they are barred from setting millage and calculating taxes for this year unless they use the 2012 assessment numbers.
That means they will have to use the assessment numbers that residents in the City of Pittsburgh and in Mount Oliver got in the mail last week.
“Are they going to protect the taxpayers in the city or are they going to try to send out invalid numbers which will cause disruption to all the people in the City of Pittsburgh?” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
The order comes the day after Fitzgerald said during a news conference that he was throwing out the reassessed values.
Fitzgerald said he planned to send out letters to city property owners, telling them to throw out those new assessment values and shut down the informal appeals.
The move to stop the reassessment on Thursday came just hours after Judge Wettick said he’d consider delaying the implementation of the assessment for one year.
“I would never recommend any of my clients disobey a judge’s order,” Rob Peirce, an attorney, said.
Legal experts say they believe the judge has the upper hand.
Friday afternoon, Attorney Don Driscoll filed a motion to hold Fitzgerald and the county in contempt of court.
“The actions taken by Chief Executive Fitzgerald are directly contrary to orders issued by this court,” he told reporters.
Wettick said he will rule on the matter on Tuesday when he will decide if he will delay the reassessment by one year.
Fitzgerald says he won’t be satisfied with a one-year delay.
“I want to be treated – this county deserves to be treated like every other county does,” he said.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.