The first reassessment of property values in the county since 1965 has been completed and the first wave of notices have gone out to property owners on the west side of the river and people are howling. The local papers and talk radio are full of tales of "sticker shock" and errors by 21st Century Appraisals such as listing buildings on the property that don't exist. One property that has a swamp saw an increase in the land value and my favorite horror story came from an owner of a double block that said one side of the building was valued at $60,000 and the other came in at $85,000 for almost identical properties.
If you want to appeal your new assessment it could cost more than the increase in taxes for the first year. And get this; the best evidence that can be presented is a certified appraisal with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2008. Appraisals with other effective dates won’t hold any weight with the board, even if more recent. So even if you get a new appraisal it will be a waste of money because the appeals board won't even consider it. I will have to check it out further but it sounds like there is not much you can do to dispute the new property values. So beware of lawyers and real estate experts promissing to lower your property taxes for a "modest fee."
For what it's worth there will be a free seminar to learn more about assessment appeals 10-11:30 a.m. June 17 at Genetti Hotel & Convention Center, 77 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre.
What about the politics of this. The reassessment was supposed to be completed in 2007, but the Bond Brothers found an excuse to push it off another year which cost us another $800,000 that brought the total cost to $8 million and climbing. I can understand why Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak didn't want to deal with this issue in an election year.
Remember that Skrep took over this process and called Steve Urban a "terrorist" for trying to warn people that they were going to get screwed.
More of my rantings on this subject can be found here.
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