Lancaster County residents calculate new millage rate for 2018

LANCASTER COUNTY, P.A. --- People are getting notices in the mail, notifying them of the new millage rate property owners.

2005 was the last time Lancaster County assessed home values.

Last year, the county re-assessed home values after a five year delay from scheduled reassessment.

County officials say the conclusion showed an average increase of 28 percent in home values in the county.

The previous millage rate (3.735) will now decrease to 2.911 percent in 2018.

john mavrides/director/lancaster county property assessment: "that reduction takes into account the increase we had in assessments," said John Mavrides, property assessment director for Lancaster County.

The new equation goes as follows: "Your county tax calculation = 2018 assessed value multiplied by the new tax rate (.002911)."

Lancaster County officials say they aimed for a revenue-neutral rate, which means they avoided taking more tax money with a higher millage rate.

Mavrides says the county and municipalities can increase 0-10 percent of taxes levied in 2017 for budget purposes.

If they decided to increase 10 percent for 2018, the millage rate would've been roughly 3.2 percent.

"They got to that revenue-neutral rate which was the 2.911 and the commissioners voted on no increase so they brought it down just to the revenue-neutral rate," said Mavrides.

Jason Burkholder, associate broker and realtor with Weichert Realtors said in Lancaster County, excitement over reassessed values faded when the previous millage rate was applied, showing a bump in tax rates for residents..

Now, he said residents are breathing easier with the new adjusted millage rate..

"They're starting to feel a little bit better about it. I've talked to a number of homeowners whose taxes are going down as a result of the reassessment and the new millage rate," said Burkholder.

However, Burkholder said not every property owner will see a decrease in taxes.

But any difference won't break the bank.

"There will be some people in Lancaster County that do see their tax bills go up slightly but overall, it should be a net-neutral difference of almost zero for most people," said Burkholder.

He also said property owners shouldn't expect major changes, one way or another, if they get a notice in the mail.

"It means that government is doing math different and your tax bill is probably going to stay the same, maybe go up a little bit, maybe go down a little bit. It's just the way they're doing the math," said Burkholder.

If you disagree with the county's reassessment of your home, officials say you can appeal it.

Burkholder said you need to get a valuation from an appraiser or a realtor and submit documentation to the county.

The deadline to have your appeal heard this fall is August 1 for changes in tax values for January 1, 2019.