Commissioner Dan Camp / submitted photograph

Commissioner Dan Camp pleaded for the public to help him apply political pressure on the courts in a Letter to the Editor published by the Beaver County Times last week. Two judges in the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas are currently weighing a lawsuit brought by local real estate tycoon CJ Betters that could see a county-wide reassessment of properties for tax purposes. Camp would apparently like the assistance of angry mobs with pitchforks and torches to help convince the county’s judges to dismiss the case.

The last county-wide property reassessment was done by Beaver County in the 1980s; Betters’ attorneys argue that realities have changed since that time causing tax burdens to shift in inequitable ways. Every official I have spoken with anticipates Betters will prevail in his litigation. At this point, officials are more concerned about “when” a reassessment will need to occur rather than “if” one will be mandated by the courts.

Knowing reassessments will be extremely unpopular with the public, Commissioner Camp has now made the desperate decision to begin pointlessly posturing on the issue.

“I will do all within the power of the office of commissioner allows to stop this proposed $10 million ‘experiment,’ but I need your voice,” read Camp’s letter. “The Beaver County Board of Commissioners, which was duly elected by you, unanimously agrees that a reassessment at this time is not in the best interests of the county and its residents. Unfortunately, in an attempt to usurp the will of the people, a lawsuit has been filed asking the court to overrule the reason and judgment of your commissioners. I implore you to attend the hearing and, in so doing, let Judge John McBride know that shifting the tax burden on our residents is not the cure. Increasing expenses during this time of fiscal austerity is not in the best interest of Beaver County.”

Anyone who has read unedited letters written by Dan Camp is already well aware that words like “usurp” and “austerity” are not of his vernacular. Whoever Camp relied on as his ghostwriter could have better served Beaver County by educating the Commissioner on separation of powers issues rather than penning a failed attempt at Trumpesque political prose.

Beaver County’s system of justice has been seen as far too political for far too long and calls by Camp to make it more so are detrimental to the community.

We should all hope that every lawsuit or criminal case brought before our courts is decided on its merits and the rule of law rather than by popularity contest or the political will of those in power. We should also hope that someday soon those on the bench will start caring about how the courts in Beaver County are perceived and work to develop a culture that demonstrates integrity and fosters public confidence. Our elected leaders should be encouraging such a reformation, rather than attempting to take advantage of the public’s impressions of a corruptible court.

In the end, Commissioner Dan Camp’s dog whistle call went unanswered and the courtroom was empty during the reassessment hearing, save for those one would expect to be in attendance. Officials should never underestimate the apathy of Beaver Countians when deciding to make public pleas for action.

Commissioner Camp could best serve his constituents by concentrating on those things he actually has the authority and power to control, like developing a real budget that balances without shortchanging the county’s retirement fund or playing shell games with massive debt. If major changes are not made in the near future, Beaver County’s yearly budgetary deficit will be greater than the entire cost of a county-wide reassessment — maybe the county’s judges should write a Letter to the Editor about that.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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buzzkill
Member
buzzkill

Huh, considering the F*cking fact that nearby (and much more prosperous ) Butler county has not had a reassessment since 1965, the Beaver County assessment of the 1980s seems modern. Short changing the pension system ? The pension system is for a bunch of former and current government employee blood suckers that have caused this county to go broke to begin with !!! And not just with their lavish pensions. Too many politically connected government employees collecting checks and blowing taxpayer money on pet projects has always been Beaver County’s problem. Mr. Camp is just trying to save the taxpayers from the inevitable. He is the Don Quixote of Beaver County politics…. his quest is noble but futile.

Icanread
Guest
Icanread

Noble quest? Camp’s just spittin’ out words to see where they splatter. The county’s been granting reductions in taxes to anyone who asks for over 20 years to avoid a lawsuit. It’s inevitable. It’s time. Camp knows this, but he thinks that by blaming the courts, ignorant people will give him some votes. If he wanted votes, he should have held the line on taxes by cutting spending.

Voters aren’t stupid, Dan Camp.

eddie pgh
Guest
eddie pgh

they voted javens how many times?
voted david how many times?
voted amadio how many times?

im not sure a statement like voters arent stupid holds much merit

Mungo Jerry
Guest
Mungo Jerry

Agreed with Eddie !!! Voters are pretty fuckin stoopid!

Dumaa
Guest
Dumaa

Butler doesn’t need to re-assess, they’ve had growth. It’s apparent you should read up on how the system works before making yourself look silly.

buzzkill
Member
buzzkill

I know quite well how the system works.
Growth comes at a price.
Butler County’s growth has come with massive costs for infrastructure and government. It’s obvious that Butler County has handled growth much more efficiently than Beaver County has handled decline.

Dale Hutch
Guest
Dale Hutch

Well done.

weezulgoespop
Guest
weezulgoespop

“Pshaw, I ain’t got no ghostwriter, hell I don’t even know what one is.”

Pat Bretheim
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Pat Bretheim

A county wide reassessment is long overdue. Properties should be assessed at a percentage of current fair market value, like other places in the country do it. That way new properties are not being over-assessed. With the current system, any new development is discouraged. That is not what Beaver County needs!

sezme
Member
sezme

NEW developement discouraged? hell, we ENCOURAGE it with all the tax breaks they get…just ask Shell….

John Q Taxpayer
Member
John Q Taxpayer

Yep, the residents are deprived and forced to buy less food, participate in less social activities, use their gasoline frugally while Comp Health Care and Shell skates for free. You can thank Connie Javens for that gift. Don’t forget about 25 Sheriffs cars still being used for personal transportation everyday. I don’t think the Commissioners ever did get the mileage logs from the Sheriffs Dept. Probably are no logs.

ricimer
Guest
ricimer

What logs we don’t need no stinkin logs. Were BC sheriffs deputies.

Dumaa
Guest
Dumaa

Pat, I hope you live in one of the low assessed areas that get slammed with a tax increase. Then you can come back and whine about that. Another misinformed person who probably doesn’t vote in the first place

John Q Taxpayer
Member
John Q Taxpayer

Camp fucked the public every chance he could, now he wants help. The only thing I would put political pressure towards is convincing a judge to put him under anesthesia.