Understanding Property Reassessment
Washington County has recently conducted a reassessment of all of the roughly 120,000 properties in the county. The County last revalued properties in the late 1970's with a base year set at January 1, 1981. This meant that the valuation date of all new construction thereafter, and for the past thirty years, was January 1, 1981. As a result of the reassessment, all properties within the county will now have an assessment based on what their property was worth on July 1, 2015. Read More.
September 8, 2016
If you’re wondering why you haven’t received a new Washington County property assessment after your August hearing, you’ll soon know the outcome. Appeals board decisions from hearings convened by Sept. 1 were being mailed Thursday and today. The results of appeals won’t be appearing on the county website, however, until November, so the curious won’t know unless a property owner reveals the information. “We’re not refreshing the website data yet,” said Bradley Boni, Washington County chief assessor, Thursday morning.
The last day for appeals hearings is Oct. 31, and Boni expects to tell Tyler Technologies Inc., with whom the county has a $6.9 million contract, to update the website after hearings conclude. Read more.
Peters homeowner petitions for property appeal
August 24, 2016
A Peters Township homeowner who said he filed an appeal of his property valuation two days late because the deadline to do so was changed during the countywide reassessment this year is still hoping for a shot at paring his tax bill. Mark Hoskins of 124 Windermere Court “attempted to appeal his assessment to the Washington County Board of Assessment Appeals on August 12, 2016, but was advised that he could not appeal his assessment as the appeal deadline had expired two days previously,” his attorney, Raymond Seals, wrote in a petition filed Monday in Washington County Court. Read more.
Snakes alive! Not at Monday’s assessment appeal, but …
For those looking out for their political futures, a property reassessment is about as attractive as a snake pit because it has the potential to anger so many voters. But Monday may have been the first-time in the history of Pennsylvania that a property owner brought a venomous snake as Exhibit A in his assessment appeal. Keep in mind that when Wayne Elliott, 76, of Amwell Township, opened the red toolbox to show its contents to the three members of an assessment appeals board, the copperhead inside was not poised to strike. Read more.
OK with his preliminary assessment, he’s appealing because final number went up
Washington County hasn’t reassessed property for 35 years, so before 120,000-some letters went out in the spring with new assessments, Bradley Boni, the county’s chief assessor, said he wanted owners to ask themselves, “Is this what I would sell my property for?” When Jim Conkle opened this letter from the county, he saw the “tentative” assessment for a rental duplex with detached garage he owns on Duncan Avenue in Washington had been set at $107,700. Conkle was satisfied with the preliminary figure, and he saw no reason to ask Tyler Technologies Inc., with which Washington County entered into a $6.96 million assessment contract in 2013, to reconsider during discussions of properties that Tyler called “informal reviews,” a series of 14,374 sit-downs which took place in Washington between March and June. Read more.
About 500 turn out for Peters reassessment forum
Nearly 500 residents packed the auditorium of Peters Township High School on Monday seeking more information on their reassessments, Washington County’s first revaluation in more than three decades. Concerns centered around wrong detailed information on their reassessments, such as the square footage of homes, and how they can file an appeal. Read more.
Reassessment explained in Peters Township
August 2, 2016
McMURRAY – It was standing room only in the auditorium at Peters Township High School, where around 400 people packed the room Monday to have their questions answered about the ongoing Washington County reassessment process. The event was sponsored by Peters Township Public Library and had to be moved to the high school to accommodate the crowd. The program's two main speakers – Scott Fergus, an attorney and director of administration for Washington County, and Susan Key, an attorney with Peacock Keller who filed the lawsuit on behalf of McGuffey and Washington school districts that forced the reassessment – assured those in attendance that they won't see a tax increase in 2017. County Commissioner Harlan Shober was the moderator.Read more
PennFuture wins appeal in Mt. Pleasant Twp.
July 27, 2016
HICKORY – The environmental nonprofit group Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future won petitioner status along with 10 individuals Tuesday by virtue of a zoning hearing board vote of 3-0 that the parties have rightful standing to challenge Mt. Pleasant Township’s zoning ordinances on natural gas drilling. The challenge, filed May 27, said the township’s ordinances that were declared invalid in October 2013 never had a formalized curative amendment to allow or prohibit drilling. The current ordinance language allows oil and gas wells in all zoned areas under a conditional-use process. Attorneys for MarkWest and Range Resources argued PennFuture’s attempt to file a challenge did not include residents as actual parties when the May filing was submitted, and residents were named July 21 in a letter sent to the township.Read more
Crunching numbers: County, municipalities, school districts getting preliminary figures for tax purposes
July 23, 2016
The $6.9 million project that was the Washington County reassessment, underway since 2013, is drawing to a close and, for the first-time, the county has released preliminary figures, community by community, that will give property owners some idea of what could be happening to their tax bills next year. This is uncharted territory for many property and business owners because there has been no countywide reassessment here since 1981. Read more.
Reassessment process entering the homestretch
July 7, 2016
For the second time this year, phones were ringing because of the Washington County property reassessment. “The phone bank was extremely busy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and while it’s still busy today, it’s subsided some,” Chief Assessor Bradley Boni wrote in response Thursday to an email request for information about the county’s first reassessment in 35 years. The county mailed final assessments July 1. Residents may have received them Saturday, when county offices were closed, or Tuesday. If property owners want to appeal their final assessments, they need to either pick up a form at the tax assessment office, Suite 205, Courthouse Square, 100 West Beau St., Washington, call 724-228-5019 to have one mailed, or print it from the county’s website, www.washington.pa.us. Under the label “tax assessment,” viewers should look for the menu that includes “reassessment information” and click on “For Tax Year 2017 Change of Assessment Appeal Form.” Read more.
Assessment letters description of appeal process going out July 1
June 27, 2016
In these days of instantaneous communication, people are phoning a Washington County office wondering about a piece of snail mail. The letter so many are anticipating will inform property owners of their assessments and describe the appeals process if they disagree with the bottom line. “I want to appeal my taxes,” is how one caller phrased her request for information Monday afternoon. The county’s mailing of more than 120,000 letters Friday will trigger the appeals process. Read more.
Canon-McMillan passes budget with $2M increase
June 23, 2016
CANONSBURG – The Canon-McMillan board of directors approved a $79 million spending budget for the 2016-17 school year Thursday that includes a 2-mill increase to a rate of 110 mills. That will generate an additional $800,000 in revenue, according to business manager Jodi Mansmann. Board member Paul Scarmazzi was the sole dissenting vote, explaining he felt “there were more creative solutions” than the presented budget. The average assessment of a home in Canonsburg is $158,000, which would see an increase of $22 in property taxes; for Cecil residents, the average home valued at $325,000 will see an additional $57 in taxes per year; in North Strabane, the average value of a home at $297,000 means an additional $55 in taxes. Read more.
County hiring ‘specialists’ from Tyler Technologies for reassessment cases
June 16, 2016
It’s an issue with which commissioners in Washington County haven’t had to deal with in 35 years: the raft of appeals that follow a countywide property reassessment. The target to send out final assessments is July 1. People appeal with hopes they can lower their property tax bills from the county, their municipality and school district. Read more.