Regarding the issue of property assessments: Prior to the hiring of Sabre Systems, I attended a meeting in the Gold Room of the county courthouse, chaired by Dan Onorato (who was not the county executive at the time). I suggested then and respectfully submit now that instead of hiring an outside source for an assessment, the county retain local sources that can effectively and accurately determine true assessed values. The source: local real estate agents. They daily roam every neighborhood in Allegheny County, evaluating today's home market prices and will provide home values accurately.
Sabre Systems placed values on homes in my neighborhood that ranged from $141,000 to $190,000 for mirror-image homes adjacent to each other. When Sabre failed, the county took another pass on these homes and the price ranged from $149,000 to $225,000 -- again, mirror image, same house dimensions and property dimensions.
My suggestion fell on deaf ears then and will probably do so again. The Sabre costs were about $41 million topped off by another pass that resulted in 90,000 appeals. Let's hope the county will do it right this time.