North Penn School Board votes to ap­peal val­u­a­tions of 26 prop­er­ties

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Linda Stein lstein@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

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.

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