Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 15, 2012
The results of the Informal Reviews were mailed during the week of August 6. If you made an informal appeal, you should have received a notice in the mail. Don’t look at the assessment blotter, however. At least among the limited number I reviewed, changes had not been made.
However, don’t bother to call about it either. I waited on the line for about 30 minutes before being automatically cut off. If you want to know something, you are going to have to go in to the third floor of the County Office Building. Unfortunately, the place is sometimes a madhouse. It was today.
If you filed an informal appeal and are unhappy with the result, you may have to file a Special Appeal within thirty days following the decision. However, if you were forward-looking enough to file both an informal and formal appeal, you don’t need to do anything further. Your Formal Appeal hearing will be scheduled in due course. But if you need to file a Special Appeal, you must file it on a Special Appeal Form. You can get them at the Assessment Appeals Office. But be sure to take along a copy of your Informal Review determination to attach to the Special Appeal Form.
Then there is the matter of Late Appeals. If you missed the appeal deadline and want to file, you may still be able to do so. The deadline was April 2. If you had a good reason for missing that deadline, you can tell it to the judge. Judge Wettick will hear Motions to file late appeals on August 27.
The thoughtful people at the County have provided a form for the Motion. If you follow it diligently and your alibi is good enough, Judge Wettick may sign the order of court attached to the Motion — which will be your ticket to an assessment appeal.
Bear in mind that everybody makes mistakes, including the Assessment Appeal Office. As a matter of fact, the County cannot prove that it actually sent a notice of reassessment to you or that you received it. Plenty of assessment notices probably never arrived at people’s mail boxes and yours may have been one of them. And if (God forbid) you fib about it, you may get your appeal, but you may also have to answer to a judge of higher jurisdiction on the Last Great Day.
For this time only, you don’t have to file your motion with the Department of Court Records in advance. You take it to Judge Wettick’s Court Room (815 City County Building) at 9:30 on August 28. That’s the building with the statue of Mayor Caligiuri on the front steps in the wrinkled suit.
If you win, you take your motion directly to the Assessment Office on the Third Floor of the County Office Building. You don’t have to pay any filing fees and you will be just as golden as if you filed your appeal on time in the first place.
On the other hand, if Judge Wettick does not grant your motion, you can appeal that decision to the Commonwealth Court. But you are going to have to pay some fees, starting with $131.00 to file it in the Court of Common Pleas. Talk to a lawyer before you appeal the Judge’s decision. This move may not be a good investment.
Of course, if you lost the train of thought of this post about four paragraphs ago, you can always hire a lawyer to go to motions court.
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