North Penn School Board votes to appeal valuations of 26 properties
In a brief meeting July 25, the North Penn School Board voted to appeal the real estate tax assessments on 26 commercial and industrial properties that their consultants estimate are undervalued by $40.6 million.
“,W’V D VLJnLfiFDnW DPRunW of money,” said school board President Vincent Sherpinsky.
This will be the third year that the district has taken this action. Meanwhile, it has lost several million in revenue in the last few years as property owners appeal their assessments as real estate values declined during the recession.
“We took an aggressive stance on this,” said Sherpinsky. “It’s a big issue. We like to stay on top of it.”
Last year, property owners settled with the district, adding $640,000 to its coffers. However, some of the 27 properties the district appealed last year have taken the matter to the Court of Common Pleas and those cases remain pending, Sherpinsky said.
“They have the right to fiJKW LW,” KH VDLd.
Sherpinsky said the issue is one of equity so that all property owners pay their fair share. The board does not appeal residential assessments.
7KH DSSHDOV JR fiUVW WR Montgomery County’s Board of Assessment Appeals, which rules by November. If the sides don’t agree or can’t reach a settlement, then those appeals head into court.
The school district’s consultant, Keystone Realty, “combs through the records and makes up the list,” said Sherpinsky. Keystone is paid on a contingency basis.
Meanwhile, the board’s finDnFH FRPPLWWHH PHW -uOy 25 as well.
7KH finDnFLDO SLFWuUH DSpears to be improving for the district as both real estate transfer tax and earned income tax revenue have increased while payroll has decreased by $2 million. The district is looking at $5 million more than it budgeted for, although committee Chairman Stephen Hladik said that amount will decrease when some bills come due.
Robert Schoch, director of business administration, said the larger than expected surplus was due to more teachers resigning or retiring than expected, lower health care costs through self-insurance and aggressive energy management efforts that have also cut costs.
However, Controller Irene DLFNLnVRn VDLd WKDW WKH finDO amount the district will receive from the state has yet to be determined and that could affect the unexpected surplus.
“It’s a very good way to bH VWDUWLnJ RII D fiVFDO yHDU,” Hladik said.