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LAWRENCE COUNTY Property assessment appeals aren't as plentiful as expected



Published: Fri, July 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A county study is trying to determine if some property was undervalued.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Appeals related to Lawrence County's first reassessment in nearly 40 years are coming in at a steady pace, but there are not nearly as many as county officials originally predicted.

Chief Assessor Mary Bullano said Wednesday that there have been 916 appeals filed with more expected to trickle in each day.

County officials went to court last month in an effort to get reassessment delayed for one year, claiming the new property values set by the reassessment are flawed and that there would be a large number of appeals.

The county had expected to have at least 3,000 appeals, but with only a week left to file appeals it is unlikely to reach that figure, Bullano said.

Still wants delay

County Commissioner Ed Fosnaught said he still wants to see a delay in reassessment despite the fact that a large number of appeals have not been filed.

"My concerns were that the tax burden shifted from those with the ability to pay to those without the ability to pay," he said.

Fosnaught said he is hoping his theory will be proven in a study the county is conducting.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge J. Craig Cox ordered the county to look at the new values and determine whether they are too high or low to help him decide if reassessment should be delayed.

Anyone interested in appealing their property value must fill out a form available at the county assessor's office, public libraries and municipal buildings in Lawrence County and pay a $10 fee.

Bullano said all hearings will be scheduled within 20 days of the county receiving the form.

The chief assessor said she does expect more commercial and industrial property appeals will be filed just before the July 31 deadline. She said that even in years without reassessment, commercial and industrial appeals are filed shortly before the filing deadline.

She added that those appealing their values must bring something to their hearing to show that the value is incorrect, such as a recent appraisal or recent sales of comparable property.




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