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Numbers Down

County assessment drops by $2.2 million

September 8, 2010
The value of property in Warren County slid downward this year. The total assessed value of all properties in the county stands at $485,506,960. That’s about $2.2 million less than last year’s $487,717,477. While the county assessment office has received several appeals of the assessed values of large commercial properties, the expiration of some tax-free zones could boost the county’s revenue. “All of the Keystone Opportunity Zone properties will be going on the assessment rolls,” Warren County Chief Assessor Karen Beardsley said on Tuesday. That change will be reflected in the 2011 taxing year. “That was a state program that the county opted into,” Beardsley said. “We should see a positive there.” Taxes will kick in at all of the properties at the Farm Colony and several other locations throughout the county. As usual, however, appeals will cut into the county’s revenues. Among the most valuable properties being appealed are: Wal-Mart at Warren Commons assessed at $4,430,784; Warren Mall at $2,900,079; Holiday Inn at $1,150,003; Hampton Inn at $707,940; the former Quality Market in North Warren at $755,089; Canterbury Court at $630,000; and Buchanan Court at $251,640. Property owners who wish to appeal their assessments must explain why. “There has to be a reason,” Beardsley said. Downward changes to the largest commercial properties’ assessments leaves holes in the county’s revenues. “It takes a lot of houses to make up for a big settlement,” Beardsley said. Decisions on appeals are made by an “independent board of thinkers appointed by the commissioners,” she said. The commissioners themselves have served as the board members at times. Beardsley said she was unsure who would be on the board for the coming year. She credited County Solicitor Barry Klenowski, who also serves as counsel for the board, with helping members know their rights and responsibilities. “He’s extremely valuable to our board of assessment appeals,” she said. In addition to the appeals, the county’s assessment drops when properties are taken off the rolls by the county redevelopment authority. The county tax bills are the same as last year, Beardsley said. The county real estate tax is 18.75 mills. The school district’s is 48 mills, municipalities range from a low of .5 mill to 15.8 mills in the City of Warren. Beardsley said most municipalities fall in a range of five to seven mills. One mill represents one dollar of taxes on every $1,000 of assessed value. Tax bills were mailed at the beginning of August, Beardsley said. Residents may pay in August and September at a 2 percent discount; in October and November at par; and from December on at a 10 percent penalty.


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