Beaver County Courthouse / photo by John Paul

The Board of Commissioners and Chief County Assessor have been ordered by two county judges to conduct a tax reassessment of every property in Beaver County — some 96,000 individual tax parcels.

The joint order by Common Pleas Judges John McBride and Dale Fouse comes as a result of a lawsuit filed in 2015 against the county by local real estate tycoon CJ Betters.

Beaver County currently assesses properties for tax purposes based on a base-year valuation from 1982, the last time a county-wide reassessment was performed. In its 31-page decision, the court outlined facts about the county’s current taxing scheme that were presented in the case:

“There has not been an application of, or change to, new construction tables or property characteristics to account for modern construction techniques or new building types/uses for assessment valuation and taxation purposed since 1982. Beaver County operates under a base-year assessment program, under which no changes have been made to its valuation rate tables since 1982. Property values in various neighborhoods within a county can change at different rates. Properties in higher value neighborhoods can appreciate at higher rates than property values in low value neighborhoods.”

Judges McBride and Fouse determined that the county’s current taxing scheme has now reached a point of inequity that violates provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution, “While the Plaintiffs have not provided evidence that they are paying more than they should be, they have provided more than enough evidence and testimony to show that across Beaver County there are numerous citizens paying more and numerous citizens paying less than their share, thereby overwhelmingly proving the issue of non-uniformity and that the scheme of valuation used in Beaver County is causing mass misassessment.”

The court ordered the county remedy the problems by conducting a reassessment of all tax parcels, “On or before June 15, 2018, the Chief Assessor of Beaver County together with the County Board of Commissioners, shall submit to the Court for approval a written contract entered into by the County with an independent contractor to provide services to the County in preparation for and completion of a computer assisted reassessment of all tax parcels in Beaver County by June 15, 2020.”

Commissioner Dan Camp told the Beaver Countian that the Board will be meeting to discuss their options.

“Our Law Department just received the court’s order for reassessment,” said Camp. “Once our Law Department reviews the court’s order and meets with the Board of Commissioners we will then decide what our next course of action will be.”

County officials have previously said a county-wide reassessment will cost taxpayers an estimated $10 million to have performed and would require the Board of Commissioners to issue another debt bond to cover the expense. Although the Board has not yet made a formal decision on how to proceed, all three Commissioners have previously said they expected the county would appeal any order requiring a reassessment.

The complete memorandum opinion and order by Judges John McBride and Dale Fouse can be read in full here.

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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Phil Hammerstein
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Phil Hammerstein

Taxation is theft.

Dan Basta
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Dan Basta

Agreed.

jaacee
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jaacee

Phil and Dan….just how do you propose to pay for the services provided by government agencies….safety and security, highways, air traffic control, etc, etc, etc. ?

Nikki Husar
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Nikki Husar

My husband and I have lived in our home in Economy Boro for 36 years paying a huge amount of taxes. We are now retired and can’t afford another increase. If Beaver County goes through this reasessment and my taxes are increased, we will certainly be moving. I am quite sure that in other states, people are fleeing to other states where taxes are much lower. If you think Beaver County has problems now, wait until the population decreases to the point where they won’t have enough to exist as a county. So so sad for seniors.

rick
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rick

Send the bill to Betters,Mcbride,& Fouse.

Lenny Miller
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Lenny Miller

Then Better’s can pay the $10 million bill

Brian Cupac
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Brian Cupac

Don’t count on that

Jim MacLaren Jr.
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Jim MacLaren Jr.

He is exempt…. I know Hopewell school district gave him an economic exemption

Lenny Miller
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Lenny Miller

Jim MacLaren Jr. not surprising

James Groves
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James Groves

Fuck Betters where are the feds I read in paper how much he payed for a local business he plane rip us off he’s nothing’s but a crook .makes me want to leave this area there no justice at all

Lifeguard
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Lifeguard

Hate to tell you this James, but there are C J Betters everywhere…………

Bill Bischak
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Bill Bischak

That’s not happening in Betters County.

sezme
Member
sezme

let’s start by seeing what his re assesment will cost HIM. wonder how he will pay for all the higher taxes on his mansion on el shaddai ?? and the big ol’homes of his relatives… oh, wait…i forgot ..he has his team of lawyers and tax advisors who will get him out of this . while WE foot the bill….he is another fn trump, who hides his wealth. bet ol’chuckie has some off-shore things, too.

Georgiesguns
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Georgiesguns

Betters has new buildings on his property and the value of land has gone up since the Cracker plant deal also. He may be sorry he opened up this can of worms. No longer will an acre of riverfront property be taxed at $1500 .

sezme
Member
sezme

don’t be so fn naive as to think betters will be paying a lot more taxes on HIS properties. his lawyers will find a way out for HIM , i am sure..

Josey Campbell
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Josey Campbell

Time to hire lawyers.