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Councilman O'Connor Upset By Property Assessments

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- He's been on City Council for less than two weeks, but already Councilman Corey O'Connor has held several neighborhood meetings on reassessments.

Appearing at a taping of the Sunday Business Page, O'Connor criticized the manner by which city assessments were conducted.

"From the numbers I've seen, I would say they didn't do a very good job," said O'Connor.

O'Connor questioned how people's land values could skyrocket, noting one resident who bought a vacant lot next door from the city for a couple hundred bucks - only to see its value jump.

"He thought it was $4,500, and I said, 'No, it's $45,000.' They took a piece of property that was purchased for two or three hundred bucks and assessed it at $45,000? That was the biggest complaint, how they got the land value," he said. "We heard that at the three or four town hall meetings we were doing."

The new councilman said this whole assessment mess was discouraging people from living in the area.

"Some of them that moved here are shocked by it, and that's the thing that really hurts," Councilman O'Connor said. "We're trying to entice people to live in the city. Someone from San Francisco grabbed me and said, 'I just moved here, I bought my house for a hundred thousand dollars, now it's up to $250,000."

Whether the judge postpones the 2012 figures until next year, residents are still stuck with bad numbers - and that means costly appeals – O'Connor says free legal assistance from the city is a must for local residents.

"Some are maybe on low income or social security, and now they can't afford to live in their homes, so it's a tough process for all of us," he said.

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