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Judge Delays Decision on Assessments Until Thursday

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will not be held in contempt of court, judge says.

A much-awaited decision about property reassessments has been delayed until Thursday, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. said he will rule Thursday whether to use new numbers developed by the county for Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver or continue to use numbers originally developed in 2002, the Post-Gazette reported.

Wettick, who is overseeing Allegheny County's reassessment, also ordered county officials to continue the assessment process or risk contempt-of-court charges, as reported in the Post-Gazette.

 announced last week that the reassessment numbers were "null and void." He said the county would use 2002 assessment numbers in figuring taxes for 2012, despite a court order mandating otherwise.

Wettick said he did not believe it was necessary to hold Fitzgerald in contempt of court for telling taxpayers to ignore the reassessment and rely on the county's 2002 base year for property values, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The contempt charge could have sent Fitzgerald to jail.

If the judge  a delay, the reassessment would apply to tax bills in 2013. That would provide relief to municipal and school district managers who are stuck in limbo, not knowing what to do about this year's tax bills until the reassessment debate is settled, according to the Tribune-Review.

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