“We are at the point that we are going to be out of money and in a serious deficit come 2017,” Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti says.
Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti says he and his colleagues put off property reassessment for as long as they could.
They estimate without it, the county will be more than a million dollars in debt by 2017.
“They're always troubling quite frankly and difficult to deal with, but they need to be administered properly,” Tomassetti says.
On Tuesday commissioners approved the company Evaluative Services Technology from Greensburg to handle the reassessment.
“They have a deep knowledge and understanding of Pennsylvania's assessment laws and of Pennsylvania's properties themselves,” Legal Consultant Janet Burkardt says.
The lawyer in charge of recommending the company says changing housing markets have created an unfair playing field since the last reassessment 56 years ago.
“In essence the lower valued properties are paying more than their fair share and the higher valued properties are paying less than their fair share,” Burkardt says.
The county plans to have the assessment completed by 2016, and the new rates to go into effect in 2017.
And while they know it's a frustrating process for some, they say their time was running out.
“We are on an extremely tight guideline. If we don't make it there is no doubt public safety offices like the Sheriff, District Attorney, Dog Safety, 911 and that's not all of them are going to suffer labor losses, reductions and public safety is going to be impacted,” Tomassetti says.
The county expects the contract with EST to be done within a few weeks and workers could be in the field making their assessments shortly after.
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