Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reassessment in Luzerne County

We got our notices and I just about fell over. The taxes on our home are estimated to triple and our rental properties will double. I've known for a long time that we have been paying less than we should since the value formula dates back to 1965 but that's a little hard to take.

The market values they assigned to our properties are in line with the appraisals I had done a few years ago when I was was doing one of my wrap around financing deals so I don't think I have good grounds to appeal. I did find a one mistake in that one side of the the double block we own was valued higher than the other by a few thousand dollars and they are mirror images. I may ask for an informal review but they may just say I'm right and raise the value of the lesser side.

The thing I don't understand is how they translated the values into taxes since the notice doesn't break down township, county and school taxes. Are they using the same millage? According to this story in the TL: County officials said millage rates must drop dramatically when the new assessed values take effect next year. That goes for school districts, the county and municipalities.
For example, the county millage, currently at 94.9 mills, is expected to drop to about 5 mills after the reassessment. A mill is $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed property. That means someone with a home worth $150,000 after reassessment would pay $750 in county taxes at 5 mills.

When I did some quick math that makes a big difference and shows we may not get whacked as bad as the notice says. I haven't decided what to do about this, if anything.

The Yonk responded to my blogger call to swarm about this subject which I wasn't able to do yesterday as did Mark.

Earlier some of our local scribes sounded off on this subject:

Zen-Why hasn't anybody asked the question?

NEPALibWatch-Welcome to Luzerne County, bend over please.

Politics in Northeast Pennsylvania -Reassessment Botched?

A common theme of my fellow bloggers is that we just don't trust anything that the county does. We're willing to pay our fair share but will everyone else?


Zen said...

Gort, if you read the whole story from the TL you will notice that the "after" estimate of taxes is what you will in fact be paying after they adjust the millage.

Anonymous said...

Vote for Mike Carroll to reduce?? property taxes!!!

Anonymous said...

I have not attended any City Council meetings due to my schedule, however I have an interesting question for you to ask the Mayor and Council Chairperson Kathy Kane regarding the City and its lack of accepting the reassessment.
I would like you to ask the City Council and Mayor if the reason for the City not accepting the County Reassessment values is because the City Administration is planning to raise our taxes this year and if they accept the reassessment values then the law would prohibit that from happening as well as the fact that all the folks in the BID would be placed in a very difficult position because they would be required to pay 2.57% on the new values which would put a lot of these businesses out of business,.
Think about this for a minute and remember I am not very often wrong when I call something regarding this City Council. Remember when the City Council tried to stop the redistricting issue to try to save some council members full pension.?
The City Council has a budget of 20 million dollars in real estate taxes for 2008 and if they accept the County plan then they can only raise the taxes a MAXIMUM of 10% in 2009 which is 2 Million., and a lot of the merchants in the BID would be screaming because they would be having a increase in taxes twice because of the 2.57% on the assessed value of their property, this would be a major uproar in the downtown BID and a reason for some to lose their business. If the city does not accept the County plan the BID is safe from an increase and all the rest of the taxpayers are subject to another huge tax increase like we received in 2004 when Mayor Leighton increased our taxes by 12 mills which generated more than 2 million dollars to the City, therefore this year if the City rejects the county plan the City can raise taxes as much as they want because the Mayor has plunged the City into 30 million dollars in debt since taking office in 2004 and the City Union Contracts are up for negotiations and the City is going broke and needs more than the 10% allowed by the County plan for 2009.
I would speculate that the City will accept the County plan in 2009 because then the city will be able to raise taxes as much as needed because the State mandated window of restriction is ended at the end of 2009 and therefore the City can have plenty of room to increase the taxes again in 2010 because the millage will have been reduced to allow for the reassessment values and then the taxpayers will be prepared for the increase as well..
I also find it very strange that this issue was never even put on the Agenda for any work session for discussion and this is the City Council's duty to handle this issue...

Walter Griffith Jr

Anonymous said...

In most cases, the school districts don't have the same millage rate as the borough and county, but a reassessment would mean an increase in taxes owed to all three.

I absolutely despise the whole idea of property taxes. Property taxes basically state that no, you really don't own your property, the government does.

Anonymous said...


You are absolutely right, and that is the crux of the matter! I think even Gort may come over from the dark side (;-) when the taxes go up after the moratorium is over!

David Yonki said...

Last paragrapgh well put. We'll pay if everyone else does fairly. Any sensible person knows you need revenue to provide service. We just want things done fairly. Hey, let's compare the homes at Barney Farms to the North End or your hood! That'll tell the tale, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

So I don't get it. You are complaining because you scammed the county by paying less than your fair share of taxes for years.

Here are your quotes:

"I've known for a long time that we have been paying less than we should "


"The market values they assigned to our properties are in line with the appraisals I had done a few years ago when I was was doing one of my wrap around financing deals so I don't think I have good grounds to appeal."

Yet now that you are going to pay your fair share you want to whine and complain??? I think the county should go after you and your like for prior years and reimburse those of us who have been paying MORE than our fair share for years.

Get a friggin clue.