Beaver County Will Appeal Reassessment Order
Following a decision by Common Pleas Court that was made at the end of 2017, Beaver County officials announced on Friday that they will appeal the decision to Commonwealth Court. The County made a motion for post-trial relief at the Common Pleas level on Friday based on issues it had with testimony made by plaintiffs in the case, but that was denied by the Court and today the matter will be appealed.
Currently Beaver County is utilizing 1982 base year values. Fifteen counties use base years older than that. The decision in December ordered a countywide reassessment to be completed by June of 2020. One member of the Beaver County Board of Commissioners made a written statement after Friday’s decision that “I continue to believe that a reassessment is not in the best interest of the taxpayers that I represent”.
That’s not too surprising of a sentiment given that most elected officials are loathe to undertake a reassessment, especially if it has been a long time since the previous one. Taxpayers see jumps in assessed value and automatically believe that their property taxes will rise just as much. As we have noted before it depends on the degree to which the value in question rises compared to the changes in the aggregate for county, municipal, and school district values. If person A’s home value rises 20% but those of the taxing bodies’ each rise 40%, it is likely that the taxes of person A will not rise once millage rates are adjusted post-reassessment.
So if there is a silver lining here besides that fact it is that Beaver County officials at least talked to Washington County officials about their recent experience with a reassessment–one that was also fought in the court system. And what were the key points that Washington County officials made to their counterparts, at least as described to a reporter who interviewed the Washington County officials after the meeting?
Communication is very important, the process has to be planned out, it will cost money to complete, and once taxpayers learned that the tax liability would not jump to the same degree as the assessed value (Washington County went from 25% of the 1981 value to 100% of the 2015 value) much of the trepidation from property owners ended, according to the Chief Assessor of Washington County.