Spread The Mustard - Adams County Tax Reassessment Activism

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No Tax should have the power to leave you homeless


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Pennsylvania Constitution:

Taxation and Finance - Uniformity of Taxation Section 1.

All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws.

Figure Your Estimated Taxes

Update: Hold on former Marylanders, don't sell that house yet. Tim Barr says that the millage rate may actually end up being approximately one-fourth what it used to be, due to increased property values. So the sticker shock mentioned below may be lessened somewhat. I sure hope you're right, Tim. Thanks.

Once you find out your Formal Hearing results and have your final assessed values on your property, you can project your estimated taxes by applying the millage rates. The upcoming millage rates have not yet been established but most likely, they will be half (or less, see above) of this years millage rates.

A "mill" is one dollar for every thousand dollars your property is assessed at. For example, Carroll Valley's municipal taxes are 8 mills and school mills are 43.98 for a total of 51.98 mills. Since the predetermined ratio rose from 50% to 100%, the millage will most likely be half of what is was. So the projected Carroll Valley millage will be something like 25.99.

So a $200,000 property in Carroll Valley will have an estimated combined tax bill of $5,198 (ouch).

Formula = 200 x 25.99

That's $433 per month. You might be better off renting or moving out of state. That'd be funny to watch all those Maryland transplants heading home. Low property values (pre-21st Century Appraisals) brought them here, high taxes will drive them back.

It's very important to get your assessed value down as low as possible to decrease your tax bite. You'll need to do the math to determine if it's worth going to the Court of Common Pleas, or not. Remember, your assessed value could go up, if you fail to show your property is worth less than it's assessed at.

And some people thought a picnic was over the top...


Save Our Homes Rally

And If You Don't Pay Your Taxes, Pennsylvania Knows Who You Are...a real Pennsylvania Tax ad. This should scare the elderly into paying up!


Adams County's 2010 - 2011 Estimated Property Tax Relief per Homestead / Farmstead

Wow, those casinos are really providing me some tax relief! Interested in learning more about the Homeowners Tax Relief Act and the scam that goes with it? Click here.

AUN School District County Total
Property Tax Reduction Allocation
Number of
 Approved Homesteads
 and Farmsteads
Estimated Tax Relief per Homestead and Farmstead
112011103 Bermudian Springs SD Adams $604,171.33 3,607 $167
112011603 Conewago Valley SD Adams $915,514.20 7,280 $126
112013054 Fairfield Area SD Adams $459,879.76 2,459 $187
112013753 Gettysburg Area SD Adams $1,106,819.85 6,618 $167
112015203 Littlestown Area SD Adams $896,244.28 4,013 $223
112018523 Upper Adams SD Adams $816,104.87 2,984 $273

A Letter from the King

Vic Kopco, the King of the Pennsylvania Property Tax Fight has sent his well wishes to all Adams Countians. His efforts led to charges against three judges and a myriad of public officials in Luzerne County. Way to go, Vic!

His letter can be found here

Simplified for the casual reader. Above is a depiction of Tim Barr's Coefficient of Dispersion as explained by him to me.

 Like Selling Ice Boxes to Eskimos
Standing L-R: Tim Barr, 21st Century Appraisals; Commissioner, George Weikert; Chief Tax Assessor, Barb Walter; (Papoose), John Hartzell; Huskies L-R: Commissioner, Glenn Snyder; Commissioner, Lisa Moreno (they apparently don't talk human language) 

Fair & Equitable?


Decide for yourself... Updated 11/12/10

Things are Getting Interesting...


Without divulging details, I've made some inquiries that are ruffling some feathers. Some of my networking friends keep me informed with other counties' struggles with property taxes. This interesting article appeared in my Inbox today. I'm starting to smell something bad. Charges against 30 people, including 3 county judges and a myriad of public officials in Luzerne County. Happy reading.

Legal Counsel strongly advised


For those needing to go to the Court of Common Pleas, I strongly urge obtaining legal counsel. Yes, it will cost some cash, but depending on the amount of difference between your Final Assessed Value and FMV it may pay off over a year or two. Funny we should be talking like this...Assessed Value and Fair market Value SHOULD be one and the same. Go figure...


The forms are available on the left side of this page, should you need them. My Formal hearing is today. We'll soon know how accurate my poll is.


One more thing, thanks for the nice comments...I hope it all works out for all of you. Forge ahead!

Coefficient of Dispersion (COD) Refuted


As expected, Tim Barr of 21st Century Appraisals has refuted my findings on the COD. He replied via email and since I'm a fair guy, I'm going to let him have his say here. I've also added my "comments" in red. We'll let the readers decide.


Be fore-warned, Tim likes to use multi-syllable $50 words and has a penchant for trying to confuse us common folk. The American Indians used to name their young according to their individual traits or nature's gifts. If Tim were a Native American Indian, his name would most likely be "Twisted Tongue". Note to the casual observer...Tim and I have agreed to disagree.


There are two major points we disagree on. First is the median line used to determine COD. Tim says it moves upwards because the sales are all above the line they were shooting for. I say the line stays where the target is and should not move just because they can't hit the target. The second point is Tim says the adjusted values (after appeals) should be used. I say, we are measuring 21st Century Appraisals competence in assessing properties at FMV. We should not be measuring the Adams' residents resolve in fighting for a fair reassessment. They should not pat themselves on the back because 18% of Adams' residents filed for appeal. They should have assessed at FMV to begin with and hoped for 0% appeals. That would have been something to pat yourselves on the back for!


Here's Tim "Twisted Tongue" Barr's argument on the COD

Non-Uniformity in Adams Reassessment Values


Using the sales data from June 1 through September 17 obtained through COL, the data suggests that the initial assessed values as of July 1 varied enough to suggest non-uniformity as measured by the coefficient of dispersion (COD). The coefficient of dispersion is the "holy grail" of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and is used to determine how much actual sales vary from the Assessed Value.


Using the sales data from this period, the Adams County COD measured at .26 as compared to the initial assessed value. Acceptable variation is generally accepted at .15 or less. Anything greater than .15 is thought to suggest non-uniformity in assessed values.


The Formal Appeals process is the only "real" recourse (outside the Court of Common Pleas) that property owners have to bring their assessed values back in line with where they should be. At the Formal Appeal, property owners are likely to have the County Commissioners on their appeal board. The County Commissioners hired 21st Century Appraisals and have been lambasted by the public for the wild variations and general incompetence of the same. Those same Commissioners are thought to have some "skin" in this entire process yet are expected to be fair and impartial in all proceedings.


21st Century Appraisals recently performed a county-wide reassessment of Adams County parcels. Sales data shows all but one parcel in this time frame sold at less than the Initial Assessed Value. The variation of these sales, as compared to the Median determines the COD. The formula is not all that complex once understood. Please see the attached pdf file for a breakdown of the Adams County COD.


Adams County COD


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