The Latest Developments in Allegheny County's Anticipated 2012 Countywide Re-Assessment: County Council Asks the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for a Stay


On December 10, 2009, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick, Jr. entered an order requiring Allegheny County to conduct a countywide re-assessment for use in 2012, and establishing a schedule for its completion. This order followed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's April 29, 2009 decision in Clifton, et al. v. Allegheny County, in which the Supreme Court held that the county's application of the base-year system resulted in such disparate treatment of the county's taxpayers as to violate the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Despite the passage of more than 16 months since the entry of Judge Wettick's order, it is uncertain whether Allegheny County will complete its re-assessment of the more than 500,000 properties in the county in time for use in 2012.

In the latest turn of events, on March 7, 2011, Allegheny County Council filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court requesting that it either exercise extraordinary jurisdiction, or exercise its King's Bench powers, to stay Judge Wettick's December 10, 2009 order. Both of these bases for asserting jurisdiction over a controversy are to be exercised only in matters of immediate public importance and are not commonly exercised.

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