Reassessment in Luzerne County

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:47 am

The assessment has to be whatever the fair market value is, if they assessed your property at $1 million and you can prove its worth $500K then they have to adjust it to that. To prove it you can do various things like provide recent selling prices for similar properties, proof that things they assessed that would add value are incorrect like in my case the wrong sq. footage, wrong heat and and extra 1/2 floor that has magically appeared. The preferred method of course is to have an appraisal done which of course cost $$$.

I haven't heard any widespread complaints about people that have appealed not getting a fair shake but the point is that the way they did this there is no way that it can be accurate. They paid $8 million to have this done and I wouldn't doubt that every property is wrong to some degree. They didn't go into houses but as best I can gather they walked around, took some measurements and guessed at the rest. For example they have my house as a 2 1/2 story house, that means that the attic is finished. It's big enough to do that but its not finished and they would have no way of knowing that unless they looked. They have our house down as gas heat too which I'd imagine would increse the value compared to coal... :P Yea right.. They corrctly have our basement down as unfinished but again they have no way of knowing that.

There's the flip side of the coin too, you can bet that many houses were under assessed, you know they won't be appealing. This is supposed to be a fair process so everyone is paying their fair share and it's anything but that.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: CraigZ On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:33 am

I heard they are building a new high school in Dallas. Maybe the school district need the extra cash....
CraigZ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: DVC-500

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: billw On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:26 am

The last I heard was the new high school is being funded by a bond issue. The school district supposedly has a 30 million surplus. I live in Dallas school district. My taxes doubled. I want to know what the school district is going to do with this windfall. I don't mind paying my fair share of expenses but it seems in the case of the Dallas area, they don't need the extra cash. So much for property tax relief. Oh, I got my tax bill the other day. The amount of reduction from the casinos was 53.00. It's called the homestead exclusion. Raise my taxes by almost 2,000, give me back 50.00 and I'm supposed to be thrilled. Frickin thieves.
billw
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 520
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Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:43 am

Well they can't collect any more taxes overall than they are now, if they are collecting 50 million a year that's what they'll get next year. The idea behind the reassessment is to fairly spread the tax burden as many people were not paying their fair share and others were paying too much. If you're taxes go up next year that just means you're picking up the slack for someone's taxes that went down. A lot of people have seen their taxes go down, my Grandmothers did. The issue though is they haven't spread it out evenly, we do have a older population. How many of these seniors are just going to accept whatever the bill is?

As far as the school goes that doesn't have anything to do with it or shouldn't unless they raised the millage.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: billw On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:07 am

Yeah Richard, I know. I'm just pissed. I'm one of those people you talked about earlier. I bought a shack in a nice neighborhood. We spent the last 13 years turning it into a nice home by working nights and weekends and are being priced out of it between heating costs and additional taxes. Sometimes I think I should just sell this place and move to Wyoming county.
billw
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 520
Stove/Furnace Model: GOODBYE OIL COMPANY

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:03 pm

The Maryland real estate assessment system is the the fairest I'm aware of. Assessments are done by a state agency, by trained experienced state employees. Each property is re-assessed every three years. The data used to make assessments is real estate sales in the respective geographic area. Filling an appeal is free. You get a copy of the worksheet used for your property before your one on one meeting time. It has addresses of comparable properties. When I've appealed and actually looked at the comparable properties, I had to agree it was a fair comparison. I didn't like the $$ but it was fair. The tax rate is largely set at the county level. There is a small portion that goes to the state. In this way each county decides how much taxes it wants and for what services. Counties also get to decide the tax reduction for senior citizens. There is a state run web site that allows public access to all the assessment data by specific property address. Only in rare cases does someone actually come and look at your property and they only come inside if invited in. Most of the income to run state government comes from income and sales taxes. There is a surcharge on the income tax levied by the county. Again the county gets to set the rate within authorized limits. Rich counties like those near the District of Columbia have high taxes and those in western Maryland have lower taxes. School spending and services are correspondingly also different. Interestingly, the public school statewide achievement testing scores are not necessarily the lowest where the spend the least.
Yanche
 
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Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: billw On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:17 pm

Yanche,
My daughter is an elementary teacher in Baltimore County. I like the way Maryland runs their school system. They are county employees, hirings are not subject to the political whims of some local politician trying to get his niece a job. I'm sure politics enters into the picture when you're trying to move into management but it's refreshing to see a government agency hire on qualifications, not who you're related to.

It took me a little while to figure out how to fill out MD's state tax return. PA's is a flat rate on income. Md has deductions like the fed.

I wish PA would adopt a similar property tax system. Around here they wait 40 years and everyone gets sticker shock. IMHO they should adjust property values every couple of years so people can adjust their personal finances a little at a time. I lived in Berks county PA in the early 90's when they did their reassessment. For several years later the paper had stories of people, mostly the elderly, losing their homes because they couldn't afford the taxes. It may be fair but it's just not right.
billw
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 520
Stove/Furnace Model: GOODBYE OIL COMPANY

Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: e.alleg On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:35 pm

I personally don't like the reassessment process at all. I think that a person should pay tax based on the purchase price which is ultimately the fair market value. Whether the value goes up or down is a moot point if the homeowner doesn't sell or refinance so why should the homeowner be penalized? I worry about my parents, they bought a large home in a mostly working class run down area in the 60's for what they could afford. Now the neighborhood has moved upscale over the years they have to pay more tax, way more. So they get penalized for being the foundation of a good neighborhood.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
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Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: WNY On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:59 pm

Yes, we are going thru it here too in Cuba, NY (Allegany Co.), they want to do 100% assessment. We are at about 78-85% currently for taxes. Since we just bought ours and just had it re-assessed since I added my garage, hopefully we won't be too much higher. We have been improving it also, so fair is fair, as long as they don't go overboard.

Good luck, we will know starting Jan. 1, 2009...... :(
WNY
 
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Re: Reassessment in Luzerne County

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:15 pm

Yanche wrote: Assessments are done by a state agency, by trained experienced state employees. Each property is re-assessed every three years. The data used to make assessments is real estate sales in the respective geographic area......... You get a copy of the worksheet used for your property before your one on one meeting time. It has addresses of comparable properties.


That I could agree with, one of the issues is that this hasn't been done since the 60's. However what this company did was just walk around, they didn't make appointments with homeowners to even ask them questions. Much of the problems could have been avoided if they had set up appointments with each property owner. You don't get a worksheet and I've searched and there isn't a single piece of information I can find that gives the formula for how they decided a properties value. The only information that is sent to the taxpayer is what the new value is and the old and new tax burden.

For additional information you need to login into the companies website, this website is very poor and very hard to navigate. The explanation for example as to what a 2 1/2 story house is and what the other fields mean is buried. Main links go to nothing of importance.


Filling an appeal is free.


That's another thing, you can file an informal appeal which costs $5. At this informal appeal you can meet with a company rep who then has to take the information to a real appraiser in another room who can make recommendation. Just some more coin going to the company that screwed your appraisal up in the first place. The formal appeal I believe is like $50 to file but don't quote me on that.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite