The court mandated Adams County Tax Reassessment has proven to be more than 21st Century Appraisals bargained for, but with good reason. Last night at Gettysburg middle school auditorium the Adams County populace showed up in drones to protest the tax redistribution.  While perhaps fair in the eyes of a government body, the redistribution has caused an uproar.  It’s easy for the county to view this as fair because they are simply looking at dollars in vs dollars out.  They have a budget to meet and they will collect taxes based on that needs of the budget. 

On a more personal and compassionate level it is impossible not to side with the general public.  It is agreed that nobody likes paying taxes, but as stated “two things in life are for sure – death and taxes.”  I’m not here to explain the tax reassessment and what was done and why, but more so to report on what I saw last night.  If you’re interested in the process I’ll post a link to another blog detailing the process – click here

Allow me to state a few things that may be less than obvious.  People whom purchased new homes, whom likely saw reduced taxes due to the reassessment were ready and able to buy those homes based on the taxes provided by the tax assessor at Settlement.  This may not have been there fair share of taxes on a government level, but they were able to pay and were prepared to pay.  The reassessment has shifted the tax to people not necessarily prepared to face their new increased taxes.  You see when they qualify a person to purchase a home, the taxes are taken into consideration in their financing – stick with me.  Inflated values from 2005-06 caused the local population to stretch in order to afford a home, it’s the American dream after all.  That stretch put them at the end of their financial rope, but at least they had a home.  The new taxes have now shifted the taxes to the people whom are on a fixed budget.  It’s just not easy for someone making 40,000/yr to allocate an additional 2,000 a year toward taxes.  In fact it may put them over the lender debt to income ratio (more than they can afford).

I spoke to one local business owner at the meeting last night that saw nearly a $5000.00 increase since a 2007 reassessment

Overflowing the Auditorium

As a real estate professional I’d stand behind him to say that his…new assessment is outrageous, but I’m not an appraiser so I’m not able to do that.  His taxes have increased so much that his mortgage company doesn’t even want to maintain his loan.  I don’t think anyone has a problem with paying their fair share of taxes, but when it puts your on the verge of losing your home or your business you have to stand up for what’s right. 

 It’s not an issue of right and wrong, but of realism.  We are in the worst economy since the great depression, and while it may not feel the same the reality is there that people are living close to the cuff as my dad says.  One thing that people cherish is their homes and their hard work.  Beyond that they want a fair valuation of their property and simply put, most of the 21st Century Appraisal appraisals were incorrect and inflated.  They claim they are with 10% on most property but 10% could be $1000.00 or more on some properties. 

The assessed values were estimated based on sales from the last 4 years.  When we list real estate for sale we use sold properties from 6 months to 1 year old.  Most bank appraisals won’t even accept comparable properties sold more than 6 months sooner than the subject property.  The market is changing so fast that if the comparables are recent they are wrong and this is what we are facing.  Mid year 2006 is well known in the real estate community to be the actual peak of the market.  So this company is using sold properties from the peak and current sold properties to somehow deduce the value of the property today and based on and equation.  The Adams County population simply agrees that the values can’t be calculated with an equation because it’s more complex than that. 

I’ll update the blog as more information is released.  I do want to say that I’m proud to be part of a community that knows when it’s time to stand up and fight. 

Click here to read the Gettysburg Times Article

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