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County Commissioners

Posted on: May 11, 2023

Warren County Begins Countywide Reassessment to Ensure Fair and Equitable Taxation

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NEWS RELEASE
Warren County Begins Countywide Reassessment to Ensure Fair and Equitable Taxation
 
Embargo: For Immediate Release
Release Date: April 20, 2023
 
WARREN, Pennsylvania – In a unanimous decision in January, the Warren County Commissioners approved a contract with Vision Government Solutions to conduct a full reassessment of all properties within Warren County. The comprehensive project will begin in spring 2023, with properties being valued as of January 1, 2025, and the new values becoming effective to levy real property taxes starting in 2026.
 
The primary reason for undertaking a countywide reassessment is to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the tax burden among property owners, according to the commissioners. The reassessment will align property values with current market conditions, leading to a more accurate representation of each property's worth. This process will enable Warren County, the school districts, and municipal governments to collect property taxes in a manner that reflects the most up-to-date and accurate data.
 
Market values have changed dramatically since the last reassessment, which was completed in the late 1980s. Since then, property values have shifted significantly due to various economic and environmental factors, both across the entire county, and from community to community. This reassessment will establish an accurate market value for each property, allowing for fair taxation.
 
“That is our primary motivation,” stated Commissioner Tricia Durbin. “The reassessment will correct any disparities in property values and ensure all property owners contribute their fair share to support local services and infrastructure.”
 
Commissioner Jeff Eggleston added, “an accurate reassessment will provide a more predictable and stable source of revenue for the county, enabling better planning and budgeting for essential services such as education, public safety, and transportation.” Currently, property tax appeals are being settled out of court, but a new assessment will all but cease successful appeals.
 
“By accurately reflecting current property values, the reassessment encourages further investment and development in the county,” said Commissioner Ben Kafferlin, adding “I believe the reassessment will actually support economic growth and job creation.”
 
Warren County remains committed to keeping property owners informed and involved throughout the reassessment process,” Durbin said. “The County will provide updates, informational resources, and opportunities for public engagement to ensure transparency and a thorough understanding of the reassessment process.”
 
In Pennsylvania, property taxes are based on the property's value at a certain time, called the Base Year. Warren County uses 1989 as its Base Year, which is outdated and doesn't accurately show today's property values. Assessment Director Brian Bull explained, “When property values are uneven, some people may pay too much or too little in taxes, and a reassessment makes sure everyone pays a fair amount based on their property's current worth.”
 
Even though property values have mostly gone up since 1989, a reassessment does not mean an increase in taxes. “By law, after a reassessment, the tax rates must be adjusted to keep the overall tax revenue the same,” said Solicitor Nathaniel Schmidt. “After a reassessment, about one-third of people will pay less in taxes, one-third will pay the same, and one-third will pay more – it all has to net out, equitably, to the same revenue the taxing body started with.”
 
In essence, a reassessment finds the current value of every property in the county, making sure taxes are divided fairly among property owners. Some counties in Pennsylvania have been ordered by the court to do reassessments, but Warren County's leaders have opted to preempt such an order to maintain favorable control over the implementation timeline.
 
Additional information on the reassessment process will be available on Warren County’s Reassessment website, https://www.vgsi.com/warren-county-reassessment. If you have questions about the reassessment project or need additional information, please contact warrenreassess@vgsi.com.
 
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