Assessment underway in Clarion County

Clarion County’s reassessment process has started.

Sarah Garner, the project manager for Massachusetts-based Vision Government Solutions Inc., told Clarion County commissioners on Thursday that data collectors have been working in Clarion Borough. She said Clarion Township would be next.

Data collection will begin on commercial property after residential property collection is completed.

Garner said the collectors had visited 627 properties in Clarion Borough out of about 18,000 properties.

Garner said the collectors will be identified with a Clarion County ID and will be wearing a yellow vest.

“They will not be entering anyone’s home,” said Garner.

The collectors will take photographs of properties, including out buildings and swimming pools.

“No one should be alarmed if they see one of our collectors revisiting the property,” said Garner. “They will be there just to verify data.”

The collectors will look at the size of a building, the type of building, the age and renovations. The collectors will document the property type and number of stories, siding, heating and air conditioning and economic influences such as landfills, junkyards and sewage treatment plants.

Once the physical data has been collected, real estate market studies will be conducted to develop formulas for estimating the fair market value.

Property owners will receive a preliminary notice of the new assessed value. If a property owner disagrees with the new value, they may appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Ultimately, the property owner may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

State law requires that licensed certified Pennsylvania evaluators assess the value of the property.

The evaluators won’t begin their work until 2023, and the reassessment won’t be completed until August 2023.

Garner said about one-third of the property owners will see a decrease in their taxes, one third will stay the same and one-third will see an increase.

Garner said the reassessment hasn’t been going according to plan but “isn’t far off.” She said the staff of seven was reduced to four due to illness but should be back at full strength by next week.

The purpose of the reassessment is to “create an equitable distribution of the tax load.” There hasn’t been a physical reassessment of the county since 1975.

In other business at Thursday’s commissioners meeting, the panel announced that the Human Services building on 7th Avenue will be closed Monday for a water line repair project.

The commissioners awarded a contract for the Grand Avenue project in Clarion Borough to M&B Services for $492,576.15. The grant is for a bike lane and lighting.

Prior to the commissioners meeting, the county Salary Board created the full-time position of deputy director of Veterans Affairs with a starting rate of $13.50 to $17.90 an hour that took effect Aug. 2.

The commissioners approved an application for an elections integrity grant in the amount of $120,816.28. Commissioner Ted Tharan said the money will pay for election workers and security.


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