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I Know It's Hard To Believe...

...that 21st Century Appraisals erred when listing the C&G Approved parcels mentioned above. They initially had 787 parcels in these two classifications. The "official list" has 212 parcels, which means that 21st Century Appraisals was WRONG AGAIN! This neat little video proves their error. I mention this because I just want to help document HOW SCREWED UP THEY ARE!!

Update 10/9 7:30pm - Tim Barr has emailed me and taken offense to this post. He says I am misrepresenting this as a mistake on his company's part, and by posting this, I am discrediting myself. I'll give him his say, right here. He says,

"I thought we had adequately explained the the land use field (including the 115 code you were searching on before) had NOTHING to do with Clean and Green enrollment or the Ag-Reserve category.  For you to represent it as an error is, well an error. 

I understand that you were confused by it and made a wrong assumption about what "land use" was used for - so we improved our information to help avoid future confusion - but that doesn't make the original presentation of information online an error. 

When you present "proof of an error", that is knowingly false - it discredits you.  You've done a lot of research and have a lot of useful links on your site.  However, if you don't want the truth and facts to be presented, then understand it will be necessary to characterize your site as misleading to support your agenda."

And, in a previous email, he says,

"The land use field was previously used to identify the predominant land use as identified by a data collector - without any respect to Clean and Green enrollment or information submitted with a C&G application. 

In other words, Land use had nothing to do with C&G enrollment status or category (ex: Ag Reserve.) Also, the C&G Category was not indicated anywhere on CourthouseOnline. 

You could have had many different land uses appearing on C&G parcels. 

The confusion your analysis revealed led us to improve our system by adding more specific codes that can be used for C&G parcels (and only for C&G parcels.)

115 and 116 still exist and are used for non- C&G parcels. 

Some of the former 115/116 parcels will now be 124-129 depending on the additional coding of the C&G category.

In short, you (and anyone using COL) can now easily tell which properties are enrolled in C&G and particually which are in the Ag Reserve category and thus subject to the "open to the public" part of the law. 

Ultimately I'm glad this came up because it has allowed us to improve our public information with more useful specifics."

So, you readers can judge for yourself. Who's made the worse transgressions here. Me, by this post? Or 21st Century Appraisals by:

  • incredulously over-valuing Adams County properties and forcing already cash-stricken taxpayers to defend themselves. Had they even been close, this whole thing could have gone much easier.

  • misleading the public by telling us the property valuations are over a four-year period, when in fact the only thing that matters is what your property was worth on January 1, 2010.

  • unfairly penalizing owners of smaller properties (both residential lots AND larger parcels) simply for being smaller.

  • showing no uniformity in parcels on the same street.

  • showing no uniformity when comparing private sewered parcels with public sewered parcels.

  • sending unskilled workers to an area where they were in unfamiliar surroundings and didn't know what they were looking at.

  • valuing a 1960, block, 4 car garage at $18,662 when right across the street was a 1987, block, 4 car garage assessed at $12,442.

  • valuing vacant parcels in Carroll Valley at ridiculous sums ($75,000 per half acre) when a simple search would show the same being sold at $1,500 - $4,000. Did you do any research at all prior to assessing these?

  • posting false information either through data entry errors or simply not seeing the need to be as accurate as possible. The Clean & Green Program is a BIG DEAL. It takes a BIG chunk of the tax base off the books and costs the rest of the taxpayers a lot more than they ordinarily would pay. To their credit, 21st Century Appraisals did improve their search functions. (I haven't tried it out yet). Also square footages between courthouseonline and the real Adams County Courthouse were way off on some properties. And yes, you did show C&G approved on your website. It was just not broken down into categories. The website was the only thing the majority of the public had to use to do their research. GET IT RIGHT!

  • mistakenly assessing 8 parcels in Lake Meade as having lake frontage, when in fact, they did not.

  • by instructing the Appeals Boards that they do not need to make valuations. They need only consider whether the data is correct. The law says, the very first thing they must do is determine Fair Market Value!

Yes, I was wrong about the common level ratio, and you argue I am wrong here. I knew nothing about tax assessment prior to July 1, 2010. You do this for a living! What is your excuse? The job you and your company has done is here in Adams County is the most pathetic I have ever witnessed (in my humble opinion, of course). And one more thing...your company makes mistake after mistake, county after county, and YOU KEEP ON DOING IT!

PS. I also find it disturbing that the illustrious Dr. Barr has a hand in valuing Pennsylvania properties when he has so much at stake. I think it is a conflict of interest and it should not be allowed.

George, I'm Sorry!

As it turns out, my new friend George Weikert's land was in fact in the Ag-Use classification. That means I trespassed on his land, albeit unknowingly. You see, 21st Century Appraisals had George's property listed as Ag-Reserve (actually 115: Non-Ag) which most people would interpret as Ag-Reserve (and open to the public). But, as I mentioned above, 21st Century Appraisals screwed up yet again. I guess as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for George. (Are you listening other Pennsylvania Counties?)

Now some people want to beat George up over this reassessment, but I'll give him some credit. While I do not like his seemingly non-caring attitude towards us commoners in this ordeal, he IS the only Commissioner who has said anything publicly in the last few months! HELLO, Ms. Moreno...Mr. Snyder...anybody home?!

Need To Map Your Property?

This is a neat way to map your property from an aerial view. To use, go here.

Court of Common Pleas Help

For those who seek to move on to the next phase, the following may help you out. First you may want to read up on the rules & procedures of the Court of Common Pleas. Once you're ready to file, you can find the necessary form right here.

Courthouseonline adjusts codes

Courthouseonline.com has made some adjustments in their codes. Because of the scutiny by the citizen watchdogs of the Clean & Green program, it became necessary to distinguish these parcels from each other. The new codes are as follows:

The new Land Use Codes for CourthouseOnline will make Primary C&G enrollment Category apparant to the public. These was loaded today.

124 C&G:AU Improved                        Clean & Green: Ag Use-Improved
125 C&G:AU Vacant                          Clean & Green: Ag Use-Vacant
126 C&G:AR Improved                        Clean & Green: Reserve-Improvd
127 C&G:AR Vacant                          Clean & Green: Reserve-Vacant
128 C&G:FR Improved                        Clean & Green: Forest-Improved
129 C&G:FR Vacant                          Clean & Green: Forest-Vacant

Other codes are becoming more apparent as hearings wrap up. These codes are usually found in the Value History tab. They are:

F2 - FORMAL APPEAL - NO SHOW (Abandoned)

IC -  INFORMAL REVIEW - CONTINUANCE (primarily commercial properties)

RB - REVISED NOTICE - BATCH CHANGED (New data or maintainance as part of a group review)
RN - REVISED NOTICE - (New data or maintainance)

55 - Pre-Trial Hearing result

1) F3 and F5 can be appealed to common pleas.
2) RB and RN get a new 40 day window to file an appeal to the County Board Of Appeals
3) Regardless of the Informal Review code, any change based on data was recommended to the Board of Appeals and adopted.
4) All formal appeals filed will eventually get a notice.
5) Informal Reviews with Changes or Continuance (the owner didn't walk out with an answer) get a notice.
6) Internet Reviews are posted back the website, and if there was a change in value also receive a notice in the mail.
7) Any property owner may appeal/reappeal in 2011 for 2012.

Match the Pictures on the Left with the Pictures on the Right (note: there are no wrong answers)



Local Realtor Sounds off on Reassessment

Recently the Adams County area of Pennsylvania underwent a tax reassessment by 21st Century Appraisals. The process as I stated in my earlier post was completed and distributed to the tax payers of Adams County, and was not well received. In this Realtors opinion the job was poorly done, the first thing that jumped out to me was the 4 year old comps used by 21st Century Appraisals, as well as the scope of work that was targeted to "highest and best use". I also think the entire job is tainted by geographic incompetence, the workforce that was used by 21st Century Appraisals clearly have no familiarity with the Adams County area.

Read More


A friend of mine just found out that his formal appeal on his home has not been scheduled because of a clerical error. The error was discovered in his informal hearing when he had his brick exterior changed to vinyl exterior. They told him at the informal that they did not have the authority to change the valuations, they could only fix errors. He signed off thinking he was signing off on the change of the exterior facade (a reduction of $300 assessed value) when in fact he found out he signed off on the full assessed value, thereby canceling his formal hearing! Is it any wonder people are so confused over this reassessment. How many times have we heard that they could not change valuations at the informals? They kept telling us that they could only fix errors.

In my informal, I challenged nothing but did mention that I recently replaced my heating system. Note that this was a replacement system, not a real upgrade per se. I would expect that my home would be more sellable with a new heating system and maybe increase my assessment a little. NOPE! My assessed value dropped by $500, even though they were not empowered to do so. I thought it would go UP, not down in that case!

I wonder how many others were duped into signing papers at their informal and lost their chance to appeal?  Let me know!

Larger Tracts of Land Compared

We've already seen how smaller parcels compare to each other. Now we look at some larger tracts, BEFORE any reductions due to appeals, reviews or preferential discounts due to Clean & Green. Included are some very interesting insights into the illustrious Dr. Robert Barr, President/Owner of 21st Century Appraisals. It seems Dr. Barr is an alleged master tax evader by shielding his interests from taxes and setting land values throughout Pennsylvania which may ultimately benefit his own interests. All the while, Dr. Barr holds his hand out for more of your money. While employing Mr. Porterfield, he has a former state senator that can help push legislation through or stall legislation, whichever would be required.

Take a look for yourself



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