In about two weeks, Delaware County will begin mailing its official notices of reassessment of every tax parcel in each township and school district within the County. Property assessments will be raised to 100% of market value (a substantial increase from the 2020 level of 56.4%). These new property assessments will be applied by all three taxing entities to property taxes payable beginning in 2021. That year, and for many years thereafter, we will all likely feel the tax squeeze, particularly if the new assessed value is inaccurate. Market value of a property should be the sale price upon which a willing seller and buyer would agree. What was the market value of your Delaware County property on July 1, 2019, the valuation date?
Most properties along the pipeline route have been adversely affected in terms of market value by the repurposing of the old Mariner East pipeline and the construction of the new Mariner East 2 Pipeline. The reassessment project was conducted by Tyler Technologies. To your detriment, the methods used by Tyler Technologies in determining the market value of your property did not take into consideration the stigma attached to your property by the pipeline. Our firm is aware of instances in which the proximity of the pipeline has made it difficult, if not impossible, to sell property.
Some of the factors which have adversely affected your July 1, 2019, property value, yet have not been considered in the reassessment, include:
- The “blast zone” spans one mile in all directions from the point of ignition of a leak of natural gas liquids. Explosions have already occurred in Pennsylvania along stretches of pipeline. Highly volatile pressurized natural gas liquids are being transferred through a recklessly assembled series of pips of various sizes. Portions of this makeshift pipeline are in excess of 80 years old and were never intended to transport pressurized gases.
- Several schools in Delaware County fall directly within the “blast zone,” threatening the safety of the children of homeowners.
- Streams, groundwater, and wells have been polluted by horizontal directional drilling, spills, and construction activity. Underground seepage will continue to spread the pollution for many years.
- Eyesores and noise were created at intrusive construction sites, and there was no end in sight on July 1, 2019.
You have a limited time to challenge the reassessed value of your home or land. You have until September 1, 2020 to appeal the new assessment. You may appeal whether or not you discussed valuation with Tyler Technologies. Failure to act now will result in a lost opportunity and increased tax liability based on an inaccurate valuation of your property. Our firm has partnered with an appraisal firm that has demonstrated success in challenging assessments for properties affected by stigma in general and the pipeline in particular. We will obtain an appraisal so that our clients can provide specific and credible evidence to the Tax Appeals Board which, we believe, will require the Board to reduce the tax valuation of your property.
Should you wish to pursue a challenge to your property’s tax assessment value, please reach out to my office as soon as possible to discuss your situation. There is no fee to discuss a possible appeal.
Very truly yours,
JAMES H. BONNER, ESQUIRE