Allegheny County won't be finished with assessment appeal hearings by the Dec. 17 deadline, officials told a judge overseeing the project today.
As a result, Senior Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. said he would extend the Dec. 31 state deadline for municipalities to pass their 2013 budgets.
That move will give the quasi-independent assessment appeals board additional time to act on challenges to new property values. The county is completing a court-ordered $15 million reassessment.
Judge Wettick gave lawyers for boroughs, townships and the county until Dec. 7 to draft an extension proposal. Communities likely will get until the first or second week in January to act on their spending plans and tax rates for 2013.
The Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review is taking final action on about 1,100 challenges per day, board solicitor David Montgomery told the judge at today's status conference.
About 100,000 residential property owners across the county filed formal appeals of their new assessments. About 68,000 have been resolved with another 2,500 to be approved by the board today.
Mr. Montgomery estimated that 90 percent of residential appeals would be completed by Dec. 20. Judge Wettick had ordered the county to concentrate on completing Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver first so the Pittsburgh Public Schools could pass a budget by the end of the year.
The number of resolved appeals in the city and the small adjoining borough should be about 95 percent completed by the deadline, Mr. Montgomery said.
The county was to have delivered final aggregate property values to municipalities and school districts by Dec. 17, but Judge Wettick approved a three-day delay until Dec. 20.
Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver, which is part of the city school district, were being done first, because the city schools operate on a budget year that begins Jan. 1. All the other school districts in the county have fiscal years that don't start until July 1.
The county's municipalities also operate on a calendar year budget and need the assessment figures to pass their budgets.
Len Barcousky: email@example.com or 412-263-1159.