SHARON Council plans to appeal pending reassessments

City officials want to know how the new assessments were determined.
SHARON, Pa. -- City council will appeal a list of 30 property tax reassessments pending before the Mercer County Board of Assessment Appeal.
Councilman Lou Rotunno said nearly all of the reassessments are for commercial properties for 2003 and some of them are substantial.
It will cost the city some property tax revenues if the new assessments go through, he said during a council meeting Thursday. He didn't have an estimate on just how much that might be.
Where situation stands: The cases already have been presented to the board of assessment appeals, made up of the three county commissioners, which has approved the reductions. It's up to the city to appeal that decision, Rotunno said, introducing a motion to have Atty. William Madden, city solicitor, do that.
The motion passed unanimously. Hearings will be scheduled in September.
Rotunno also asked that the commissioners and a representative of the tax assessment office be asked to attend a council meeting to explain how the reassessments were handled.
"If they're going to reassess 30 properties, they better do all of them," he said.
Property owners can ask the county for reassessments once each year.
Councilman Fred Hoffman said the reassessment seemed to make no sense. It does eat away at the city's tax base, which was raised by 3.5 mills (about $350,000) this year, he said.
Rotunno said it seemed strange to see such big reassessments when the county commissioners just enacted a 36-percent property tax increase for this year.
If a company gets a 30-percent reduction in the assessed value of its property, its tax bill drops by 30 percent as well, he said.
List's leaders: Topping the list of reassessments were two for the Shenango Valley Division of Consumers Pennsylvania Water Co. for its water plant facilities on North Water Avenue.
The company got the assessment on one of its buildings cut from $7.3 million to $1.2 million, a drop of about 85 percent, and the assessment on a second cut from $2.4 million to $400,000, a drop of 83 percent.
The city doesn't get any property tax revenue from the water company, however.
The company pays a state utility realty tax that the state then gives out to municipalities.
A couple of reassessments that will affect city coffers included Protected Home Circle Life Insurance that got the assessment on its property at 32-36 E. State St. cut from $362,900 to $220,800, a drop of 39 percent, and the assessment on its property at 42-44 E. State St. cut from $52,050 to $34,500, a drop of 32 percent.
Victor Printing Co. got its property at 400 Riverside Drive reduced from $245,700 to $147,600, a drop of 40 percent; Daffin's Candies at 496-514 E. State St. had its property reassessed from $161,250 to $110,400, a drop of 31 percent; and Roemer Industries at 161 Mill St., got its property reassessed from $114,900 to $62,100, a drop of 45 percent.

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