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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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View Poll Results: What Is The Outcome of Your Property's Reassessment(s)?
Our Taxes Increased 7 63.64%
Our Taxes Remained Relatively Flat 1 9.09%
Our Taxes Decreased 2 18.18%
I'm Negotiating/Appealing as we Speak 1 9.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,773 posts, read 72,916,881 times
Reputation: 17703

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I just wanted to conduct a poll of Luzerne County residents to get a gauge of how the recent county-wide reassessment has personally affected you as a taxpayer. Initially there was supposed to be a relatively even split of 1/3 of residents seeing tax increases, 1/3 seeing them staying relatively neutral, and 1/3 seeing decreases, but I've only been reading in the Times-Leader and hearing from our clients and co-workers that their taxes have "skyrocketed." Please vote for what your situation is, how drastically your annual tax bills have changed (if at all), and what municipality you reside in (with 76 different towns, most with under 5,000 residents, that in itself is a taxing problem, but that's for a separate rant).

Do you think 21st Century did a fair job or botched it? I see there were people from Harvey's Lake picketing the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre the other day, garnering a cacophony of car horns in support. Is this just another case of those whose values were seriously undervalued to begin with whining, or do you think they have legitimate gripes?

P.S. Anyone can chime in here, regardless of where you live, but please only vote if you either live in Luzerne County or own property here. This is a public poll, so people will see if you're from, per se, "Omaha" and decided to vote just for the hell of it. Thank you!
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,773 posts, read 72,916,881 times
Reputation: 17703
I still reside with my parents (I know, I'm sad, but I can't afford my own home yet), but I've been following their reassessment quite closely since I have a deep interest in real estate.

My parents used to have an old assessed value as of 1965 of $8,500. That jumped to a 2008 market value of $208,200. I reviewed every detail of 21st Century's information on our property here in Pittston Township, and it all seems to be quite accurate. The only mistake is that they claim our 6' x 8' wooden deck adjacent to our above-ground pool was built in 1980, but it was really built in 1998 when the pool was installed.

Our taxes are increasing by just under $500 annually, but I feel as if that is a fair market value provided for our property. We have renovated the home, built in 1970, very extensively, and I would probably initially list it at $205,000 (dropping it if necessary to $199,900) if I were going to sell it in today's market. We're content with our assessment, even though some of our neighbors are appealing.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Scranton
2,940 posts, read 3,512,994 times
Reputation: 570
Lackawanna County is supposed to have a reassessment as well. I guess maybe I should hold off any major remodeling until after its done...

I work with a lot of people from Luzerne County and most seem to think they're getting screwed...
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,773 posts, read 72,916,881 times
Reputation: 17703
Quote:
Originally Posted by FightinPhils View Post
Lackawanna County is supposed to have a reassessment as well. I guess maybe I should hold off any major remodeling until after its done...

I work with a lot of people from Luzerne County and most seem to think they're getting screwed...
Ironically the most ornate home on our street has the lowest assessed value, and now the millionaire owners are giving it an extreme makeover. They are installing a new Mediterranean-styled facade, complete with a portico and columns. They conveniently had their property look blighted for when the assessment crews made their rounds, and now they are literally turning their property into the Taj Mahal. Their home was appraised at just over $170,000, even though as a budding real estate professional I'd probably list it at around $299,900. Contrariwise a home just around the corner that has literally no lot and is not very impressive has an assessed value of around $370,000! I would only list it at perhaps $249,900.

There most certainly are a lot of discrepancies here in Luzerne County, so you folks in Lackawanna County better be prepared for a fun time with your reassessments as well. I know how much a lot of people in Scranton like to whine about something as minuscule as a cracked sidewalk, so if they are facing a potential tax increase I can already see the pitchforks and torches coming out! LOL!
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Old 08-01-2008, 09:08 AM
 
2,317 posts, read 4,872,383 times
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some info on lackawanna county...

Reassessment Delayed in Lackawanna County (http://www.wnep.com/global/story.asp?s=8483876 - broken link)
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Louisville, KY
1,590 posts, read 4,337,527 times
Reputation: 1371
I voted since i know the details of my parents new deal.

this is going to get confusing.

My parents home's assessment has increased by $70k. Their taxes went up quite a bit. Their house in Pa is valued at about $40k less than my house in arizona. My house in Arizona is in a county that has high taxes compared to elsewhere in the state. My taxes are a few hundred dollars less than my parents. I thought that was a bit odd.

I think the initial shock may be painful to some of the residents of luzerne county. But I don't see it as an unfair increase, I see it as the county finally catching up to where they should be.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:51 AM
 
41,816 posts, read 47,417,649 times
Reputation: 17801
Quote:
Originally Posted by 61scout80 View Post
But I don't see it as an unfair increase, I see it as the county finally catching up to where they should be.
The tax burden overall will not increase, what the reassessment should provide is a fairer distribution of those taxes. The issue is that many of assessments are inaccurate. In my case the house cannot be accurately measured without going into the yard. A smaller house we have in the back on the same lot was overestimated by 1000 square foot or nearly 50%.

At the informal hearing we pointed this out and were told they would have to send someone to remeasure both houses. After asking how they came to the original figure we we were told it was estimated. We asked to be called so they could gain access to the yard and were told they don't do that.

There were many other discrepancies as well. I wonder how many of these senior citizens got there reassmesnt and just accepted it as correct.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Louisville, KY
1,590 posts, read 4,337,527 times
Reputation: 1371
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post

There were many other discrepancies as well. I wonder how many of these senior citizens got there reassmesnt and just accepted it as correct.

is there anywhere online that i can look up the data? This would probably describe what my parents did perfectly.
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:37 PM
 
41,816 posts, read 47,417,649 times
Reputation: 17801
Data for what? How the house was assessed? When your parents got their new assessment there is code for accessing the detailed information for their house online. You can also look up what neighboring properties were assessed at.

This is another thing that real gets my ire up. The website for accessing this information is a joke. They have main links going to nothing of imporatance and some of the real information such as what some of the things mean buried. For example our house is classified as a 2 1/2 story house, I didn't know what that means and I only accidentally clicked on link where I found it. You have to go through the motions as if you want to change data to get it to it. Overall from a professional point of view I'd give that site a D-, there's high school kids that could produce a better site.

I build and design sites so I'm pretty savvy where navigating a site is concerned and I found it quite confusing. I'm sure someone that is not technically adept or worse yet if you're senior citizen or someone without online access I don't even know how you could access that information. The only inforamtion sent in the mail is the square footage for the lot and the house.

There is one other thing that came up that sent up red flags for me. At the end of the informal appeal they will give you paper with the adjusted value where you either have to agree or disagree with it. The lady suggested we agree and file a formal appeal which makes absolutely no sense to me. The point was that the amount was still not correct because it wasn't adjusted for the square footage and I'm, wondering if they were doing this to a lot of people and if its going to come back and bite them in the ass because they signed off on it. I point blank asked here why should we agree when the square footage is still wrong and she suggested we write notation that it was wrong...
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Old 08-01-2008, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Dallas, PA
1,418 posts, read 3,378,918 times
Reputation: 602
We weren't hit that hard..under $300 raise in taxes, but that's because we just bought our house in March, so the value was clearly determined by that. People in Harvey's Lake definitely have a right to be angry. In some cases over there, taxes were increased 300%!!! That's insane! I heard something about high school students somehow being involved in collecting the data on some of these reassessments as part of a senior project? Don't know how true that is, but I heard there is a class action suit, and the people of Harvey's Lake (and parts of Dallas) are rightfully upset, imo.
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