Supreme Court denies Beaver County appeal
“AND NOW, this 5th day of June, 2019, the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is DENIED”. With that, the state Supreme Court has for the third time in just over a decade told a county that it must reassess property values. This time it is Beaver County and its 96,000 parcels which were last reassessed in 1982.
The reason the county was able to keep values in place for 37 years is that in that same year the General Assembly passed Act 268 which permitted base-year assessments. The reason a lawsuit was brought against the county’s assessments and was ruled on affirmatively by lower courts is that the assessments were not uniform.
As we have argued, reassessments should be done on a regular cycle so that large gaps between market values and assessed values do not develop. There are 15 other counties with a base year older than 1982.
Beaver County officials are obviously deflated by the ruling but have vowed to “work diligently to keep the property owners of Beaver County informed throughout [the reassessment’s] entirety” which is necessary and encouraging. Not so much was the comment of one of the county commissioners that “a lot of the older population whose houses are paid off” are going to be hurt by the reassessment.
That’s possible. But it is determined on how the value of the home changes relative to the change in the county’s overall value and those of the municipality and school district where the home is located. After millage rates are adjusted for new values, it is possible the tax bill may stay the same or go down. The county’s millage most recently increased 3.8 mills in 2017; that increase fell on all taxable property, including people whose homes may have been paid off.