Big Dog, Your point is well stated. Yes, any appraisal is an opinion of value and there will always be variances in methodology and final opinion from different appraisers. Furthermore, mass appraisal is a different process than most people are familiar with. When someone asks me to provide a document that would teach someone how to do a mass appraisal, I'm not sure how best to respond - That's like asking any professional to provide in a couple pages an explaination of what has taken years of experience to learn. Dr. Smith, please explain to me exactly how you did my surgery so that I could do the next one myself?I realize that an appraisal of any item, jewlery, coin collection or real estate is based on an educated guess. The more educated the appraiser is the better his guess should be. I also realize that no two appraisers, no matter how educated, will arrive at exactly the same value for the same item. In appraising real estate the task is even more difficult considering the vast difference between properties and the variety of kinds of appraisals (insurance, mortgage, tax ect.) But perception is reality and when people perceive that something is wrong they have a right to question it. While the Commissioners may have authorized this reappraisal it is the taxpayers that are paying for it and as the clients they have the right to make certain, to their satisfaction, that they got what they paid for. They also have the right to question their employee (21st Century) about the product as it affects them and to have 21st explain how they arrived at the conclusion they did. Further they have the right to have 21st explain discrepancies in their results without being denegrated by others. I realize that no professional enjoys having their work product questioned but that is part of what the client pays for and the employee should be anxious to please the client when possible.
Perception is a big part of the problem here. County staff, reval staff, and me personally have spent countless hours researching any "issue" or parcel presented. I regardly keep an eye on Bruce's website so I can research his questions. But I have found it largerly ineffective to provide complex answers via the forums, or even via email responses. On several occasions (prior to the lawsuit shutting things down), I have made trips to Gettysburg to meet with interested taxpayers or groups to do exactly what you suggest - answer the questions and get to the bottom of any real problems.
Unfortunately at this point, I fear we have lost the opportunity. Most of those remaining with questions aren't really interested in the answers - as evidenced by their responses and actions. I've also found a that there are a lot of knowledgable people on this forum. If any of them want to get together and help me look for fairs to improve Tax Fairness in PA and improve the Mass Appraisal process - I'm not hard to find. Send me an email.