PUBLIC STATEMENT OF SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT BRUCE LORD REGARDING COUNTYWIDE REASSESSMENT, DATED 08.27.2020
As many of our taxpayers already know, the countywide reassessment has set proposed new assessment values for all of our District's properties beginning with the 2021 tax year.
To protect all of our taxpayers, our Solicitor is recommending that our Board authorize two important actions in response to the countywide reassessment.
The first action would authorize our Solicitor to file appeals from significantly undervalued 2021 assessments. Our Solicitor and our real estate appraiser would determine which assessments to appeal without consideration of the property type and in accordance with our District's three standard methodologies that have been approved by our District's Executive Director of Operations.
These three standard methodologies involve:
- comparing the proposed new assessment's implied fair market value to the current assessment's implied fair market value;
- comparing the proposed new assessment's implied fair market value to any recent sale of the subject property; and
- determining obvious clerical errors.
To ensure that the appeals would be financially viable in light of anticipated legal fees, costs and expenses, and appraisal fees, a financial factor of $10,000 or more in projected tax dollar loss to our District would have to be applied to the first two methodologies. Further, the first two methodologies would culminate in a preliminary valuation review conducted by our District's appraiser.
The second action results from our Executive Director of Operations', District's appraiser's, and Solicitor's analysis of the proposed new assessment values for all of our District's properties. This analysis has revealed an unfair and inequitable shift of the total real estate tax burden to our District's residential property owners resulting from the countywide reassessment.
Specifically, our District's residential property owners currently shoulder 76.75% of the total real estate tax burden. But under the countywide reassessment's proposed new assessment values, our District's residential property owners' burden would increase to 83.31% of the total real estate tax burden, which is a 6.56 percentage point increase and an 8.55% (percent) increase in and of our District's residential property owners' burden.
Without remedial action, that would mean that even if our Board somehow managed to be able to not raise taxes for the 2021-2022 school year, under the countywide reassessment's proposed new assessment values, our District's residential property owners' tax bills for 2021 would nevertheless contain an automatic average 8.55% (percent) increase in real estate taxes for 2021. Because the law requires a countywide reassessment to be revenue neutral for our District, our Board would be powerless to stop that automatic average 8.55% (percent) increase, without remedial action.
As Board President, I join in our Solicitor's recommendations. As a Board, we owe a fiduciary duty to all of our taxpayers. When we see unfairness and inequity in the real estate tax system resulting from systemic errors in the countywide reassessment, we must stand up, speak up, and take appropriate action to attempt to remedy that unfairness and inequity.