Clarion County reassessment set to begin

The physical re-assessment of Clarion County could begin in the next few weeks.

County commissioners issued a press release Tuesday notifying residents a full reassessment of the properties within the county is expected to begin later this spring and culminate with a full reassessment.

“Properties will be valued as of January 1, 2024. The new countywide tax base will be used to levy real property taxes for 2025,” the release said.

Real estate taxes are calculated for each property annually, based on the fair market value at a given point in time, referred to as the base year.

This base-year value is used for assessments until a new base year is established by a countywide reassessment.

The current base year for Clarion County assessments is 1975 as that is when the last countywide reassessment was completed.

The commissioners said that over time, property values become inconsistent, unjust, and just too old to reflect current trends and changes in the value of real estate.

“Property values throughout a county appreciate at different rates; market changes create a lack of uniformity, resulting in owners paying more or less than their true proportionate share of the tax burden,” said the release. “The primary object of a reassessment is to establish fair and equitable assessments,” the release added.

The commissioners explained that there are several counties in Pennsylvania that are currently undergoing reassessments as a result of formal court orders to do so. The commissioners said they have elected to undertake this project proactively.

“It’s the right thing to do; the values and tax burden are not shared equally among the residents within the county. Should a lawsuit occur, the county would lose,” the commissioners said. “The legal process would generate significant legal fees for the county, and in addition, the procedures and timeline would be dictated by a court that may or may not fully understand the processes.”

The commissioners said it is not a tenable situation to continue to use values generated in 1975, knowing that there are properties that are in the same neighborhood that have disproportionate values and therefore different tax burdens.

Clarion County has contracted with Vision Government Solutions to complete a reassessment project and to ensure the values are fair and equitable.

The commissioners said a reassessment doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s taxes are going to increase as a result of normalizing values with the current market.

By Pennsylvania statute, all taxing districts are required to lower their tax millage by the same ratio that the tax base increased.

“It is important to understand that a reassessment will determine the current fair market value of every property in the county. The process equalizes the values of all properties resulting in a fair and equitable distribution of the tax burden,” the press release said.

Over the next few weeks, additional information on the reassessment process will be available on the county’s reassessment website, www.vgsi/clarion-county-reassessment.

Anyone who needs more information or who has questions about the reassessment project can call the assessment office at (814) 226-4000.