Beaver County will not be on the hook for the $166,000 in legal expenses incurred by a county businessman in forcing a countywide property reassessment.
County Judge Dale Fouse ruled today the county doesn’t have to reimburse C.J. Betters for the lengthy legal battle he won in June.
Betters filed litigation in December 2015 alleging inequities with the county’s current tax system, which is based on assessments conducted in 1982. County commissioners fought the case up to the state Supreme Court.
Commissioners now have until January to enter into a contract with a company to reassess the more than 90,000 taxable properties in the county.
The work must be completed by June 2022 with the reassessments going into effect in 2023.
Chief County Solicitor Garen Fedeles said during Tuesday’s commissioners work session that work on the process has begun.
“The RFQ (Request for Quote) for the reassessment project is going out. It’s going to be in the paper on Monday. Potential applicants have until Sept. 23rd to submit their packet, at which point we’ll review,” Fedeles said.
The court’s initial ruling from 2017 required all properties be reassessed by June 2020 with the new tax bills taking effect in 2021.
Betters alleged commissioners sought an intentional delay and “engaged in dilatory, obdurate, vexatious or arbitrary conduct when they took this case to trial.” But Fouse ruled they were simply exercising their rights.
While the commissioners were advised it was unlikely they would be successful in fending off a reassessment, the county’s legal wranglings were successful in delaying the work until after November’s county elections.
Commissioners Dan Camp and Tony Amadio are both seeking reelection, with Commissioner Sandie Egley running for county treasurer.
Commissioners have estimated the cost of reassessment could be upward of $10 million.