This week' 'Ask Evan' question comes from Sara H in Lancaster County. Sara asks, "Can you find out where and how Lancaster County came up with the huge increases in its 2018 reassessments? Our increase was another $24,000. A lot of people would be interested?"
Lancaster County officials say the reason for the change in assessment is due to a countywide reassessment. These are done incrementally to set property assessments at a fair market value. That way the tax base is fair and is based on current market conditions.
The new reassessment that you were notified of is effective for 2018 and every property in the county, all 190 thousand of them, received a new assessed value. The current assessment was based on market values with an effective year of 2005.
The county had passed a resolution mandating reassessments every eight years. However, the 2012 version was delayed because county officials reasoned that people were still recovering from a recession and reassessed values would have been skewed accordingly.
So, tax officials say the 2018 assessment notice should reflect a value around what you would expect the home to be worth if you put it up for sale today. For residential properties the county used valid sales of properties from 2012-2014 by neighborhood or area to determine estimates of value. Data such as acreage, square footage, amenities like porches, garages, bathrooms have a value attributed to them. Those values are then adjusted and compared to similar sales in your area to come up with a probable market value. Among the county`s 60 municipalities, the average assessment increases range from a low of 23-percent in Clay Township to a high of 50-percent in Fulton Township.
So does the higher assessment mean you'll pay more taxes? That's still unclear. The millage rates for the 2018 county and municipal taxes will be determined towards the end of this December. The millage rates for the 2018-2019 school year will be determined in June of next year-- so the new reassessment notice will not affect your 2017-2018 school taxes.
If you have questions you'd like to ask, send me an email at AskEvan@FOX43.com . Put 'Ask Evan' in the subject line or reach out to me on my Facebook page Evan Forrester FOX43. Whatever the topic I'll do my best to track down answers you are looking for.