Spread The Mustard . com


Locally Hosted

Your Stories
FACT now
Pennsylvania Reassessment Law
Pa Legislature Newsletter (excerpt)
Contract between Adams County & 21st Century
21st Century Fee Schedule
Reassessment Q&A's
Reassessment Appeal Legal Statute
Strategies for fighting reassessment
Clifton vs Allegheny Legal decision (6mb)
Carroll Valley Recent Sales of Vacant Lots
Carroll Valley Comps
Assessed Land Values per Square Foot
Reassessment Board Guidelines
2010 Adams County Millage Chart
Outbuilding Comparisons
Tim Barrisms
Contact Me
Contact Your Representative
File a Complaint

C & G Links

Adams County Ag-Reserve Properties
On the Road to a C&G Property
Request for C&G Properties Submitted
Clean & Green Tools

Third Party

People's Voice Adams
GIS Mapping
Pennsylvania State Tax Equalization Board Website
Adams County
Court of Common Pleas Rules
Court of Common Pleas Form
The Common Man
Official House Bill 1275
Learn about Bill 1275
AssessLaw - FAQ's
Tax Prof's Blog
Pennsylvania needs Assessment Fix
Pa Court Weighs Tax Assessments
Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals in Distressed Real Estate Markets
Pennsylvania Judge Strikes Down Property Tax System
Standard on Mass Appraisal - IAAO

Cumberland Assessment Called Accurate

Did you really expect anything less? A new friend of mine attended both sessions and shares his viewpoint on the issue. He's closer to that situation than I, so I'll let his voice be heard.

As expected the “Independent study” by Alan Dornfest/IAAO of Idaho merely looked at the results, NOT THE PROCESS USED BY 21st Century, accordingly his conclusions were to endorse the findings.

This is an important distinction as Dornfest was unable to state that he could not evaluate the input numbers or even describe the modeling techniques used.

Of course since 21st Century are IAAO members and since they subscribe to their techniques it was no surprise to all that Dornfest’s report was that in his opinion 21st Century’s results conformed to “commonly accepted industry standards”.

The afternoon session was a packed courtroom. Dornfest was put on the ropes a number of times and could not respond since he did no in depth analysis. He and the assessors used a lot of terms like “it’s an art, not a science” and a 10-20% error or deviation off of a mean average was the best they could expect. 100% and higher deviation was probably contained in 1-5% of the county wide appraisals. With numbers like that the people in the audience moaned and the commissioners looked a little queasy. Of course the assessors immediately piped up that that was what “Appeals are for”.

The 7 PM meeting at the High School was a total disappointment with sparse turnout.

The county tax assessors used a lot of time “vindicating” themselves with Dornfests account.

I’m not surprised that Timmy Barr will be showing it as an endorsement of their work when in fact it did nothing to verify the accuracy of their modeling.

None the less, the commissioners got an earful from the afternoon crowd and even the few who spoke tonight to which I’m convinced we have 1 commissioner ready to vote down the reassessment and 1 wavering. Our vested interest tax assessors are putting a full court press on pushing the commissioners to vote to approve as they believe the crap work will stick to them if it is not approved and they’ll lose face like some Mandarin poobah.

The fight goes on!

Pretty Please shares her story

This site keeps me busy, but when I hear stories like this, I know my efforts are worthwhile. I do plan on a wiffle ball game/picnic as this would give us all a chance to meet and have fun. A little networking never hurts. You just never know what can happen! Not sure we can squeeze one in before it gets too cold...what are your ideas? Shall we wait until spring? Shoot me your ideas.

Shame on you, George!

I sat in the Commissioner's meeting today and heard Commissioner George Weikert state again and again that they are still targeting Oct. 31 to have all the Formal Appeals heard. I just received my Formal Appeal notice yesterday (Oct. 19) and it is scheduled for the second week of November. Now either George is lying through his teeth or he is completely clueless. In either case, he is no longer worthy to represent Adams County. Just be honest with us for crying out loud.

Unfair Property Taxes Nothing New

Pennsylvania has long been accused of having an unfair taxation system when it comes to property taxes. There is a bill in the House to remove the school taxes from the property tax equation. This bill is know as HB 1275. This bill would go a long way towards leveling the playing field. It is not a cure all, in my opinion, but school taxes are the single biggest bite out of your property taxes. House Bill 1275 is based on income and sales tax, rather than property taxes. The more you make, the more you pay...the way it should be.

This is an excellent website (done by a guy like me) that discusses the inequities in the Pennsylvania tax system.

Here's a good site to learn more about Bill 1275.

And the Official House Bill 1275 can be found here (thanks to Ramennoodles for the links).

If you're still not buying the unfair taxation part...check this out.

To find your Senators and Representatives and let your voice be heard, go here.

So, if any good can come from this horrendous reassessment, a greater awareness of the Pennsylvania Property Tax inequities should be one of them. This should encourage folks to become more vocal and involved in their political system. If it were not for the stomach turning job by 21st Century Appraisals, the sleeping giant of Pennsylvania taxpayers, may still be napping. County by county, the longtime Keystone State Property Tax system, is crumbling.

Tim Barr...Wrong Again!

Tim rebuffed my little exercise that showed smaller parcels being unfairly taxed when they are compared by square footage. Tim responded on one of the blogs that they don't measure real estate by square footage. Well, anyone who has ever seen deeds, know they do, and now Real Estate Agents are advertising them that way! 21st Century Appraisals, WRONG AGAIN!

The Virginian writes...

A young woman from Lake Meade writes to tell her story. Read it here.

Miscarriage of Justice

Several people are emailing me their stories and experiences with the Appeals boards. I appreciate your input and when I can, I will try to help.

I met John Hartzell, County Solicitor yesterday in the Courthouse. He was waiting for me in the hallway when he heard I was in the building. I went to pay for the C&G list and do some research. He asked how the website was going and I told him that I felt there was a void that needed to be filled. I felt that people did not know where to turn to get information and I felt I could help. After all, the county has not lifted a finger to help it's citizens.

While there, I stopped in the Voter Registration office and inquired when the next election was for Commissioner. They answered next year. I then asked whose seat was up for election and they replied, "all of them". That surprised me because I didn't think they all came up at once. I don't know how healthy that would be to have 3 new greenhorns at the helm, but that may just be the case, the way this mess is turning out. For those interested, a petition will be available early next year and to get on the ballot, you'll need 100 signatures to be eligible.

Anyway, to get to the miscarriage of justice as the headline states...Todd contacted me about his communication with the Chief Tax Assessor, Barb Walter. He pointed out a few things in the following email, which I can certainly relate to, so I chimed in with my two cents. I copied some news media, hoping to renew some interest in the Saga of Adams County. That would make a good book title!

If ya'll feel the same, you should take note of the email addresses contained within and let them know about it!!

Here's Todd's story, along with my two cents

My Daughter didn't know...

...that I was doing this website. She seemed shocked that it could be mine. The first thing she said, was that it was ugly. Well, it is an ugly mustard color (hence, the theme), but this whole reassessment is ugly, so it just seems to fit.

Clean & Green Ag-Reserve List

As promised, here is the "official" C&G Ag-Reserve List that I solicited from the county. Since us taxpayers subsidize these properties, the county should be publishing this, but since they won't...I will at my own expense.

I notice that most of the properties that showed as Non-Ag on the courthouseonline site are actually Ag-Use, which means they are not open to public use. Some of these look like they haven't been farmed in years or are actually just giant lawns for the rich. In my opinion, all C&G properties should be required to re-enlist in the program by providing the necessary documentation at least every two years and the $2000 minimum required to participate, that has been in place for years, should be increased.

I also think the county Assessment office should get off their butts and go out and verify that these parcels are complying with the terms of the program. The very first parcel they catch not in compliance would most likely pay for the enforcement, when you consider the rollback taxes they would collect over the past 7 years. If any of you suspect some properties may not be in compliance with the Ag-Use designation and don't want to blow the whistle, email me the parcel number and/or address and I will submit it to the Assessor's office. I vow not to disclose your identities or email addresses.


Agricultural Use lands must have been devoted to agriculture during the previous three (3) years, and must either be a

minimum of 10 contiguous acres in area or, if less than 10

acres, must have an anticipated annual gross income from

agricultural production of at least $2,000. Agricultural Use lands

will also include farm wood lots that are contiguous to the

owner s agricultural land, regardless of whether or not these

wood lots meet the minimum acreage requirements that apply

to Forest Reserve lands. The Act provides that  agricultural

production also includes enrollment of your land in a federal

soil conservation program. The Act also recognizes that your

land may still qualify for Clean and Green under this category

even if you do not personally farm the land, as long as you are

renting the land to another for use in agricultural production.

Keep in mind that only the parcels on the following list are open to the public. I am scouring it and rating each property for the "appeal value" for hosting a wiffle ball game & picnic. While some may be suited well for wiffle ball games, others may rate high for bird watching or photography. If you use your imagination, some would be great backdrops for portraits. So without further ado... 

Here's the list of C&G Approved Ag-Reserve properties.

Spread The Mustard

















Web Counter Expert

Older Posts: (older) page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 | page_6 | page 7 | page 8| page 9 | page 10 | (newer)