January 9 – The Chambersburg Borough Council unanimously voted on Monday to have the council president ask the Franklin County Commissioners to consider a reassessment for the county.
The last time a reassessment has been done in Franklin County is 1962. The surrounding counties have done one much more recently.
Commissioner John Flannery said, “If I’m not mistaken the Borough Council is relatively conservative. So my first question would be why do they want a tax assessment? Why do they want a reassessment? Because they want to raise taxes. I think it’s important that people understand that because they’ve maxed out their millage rate. So I would be very careful of how that’s presented to the public. We’ve been able to balance the budget here in the last four years since I’ve been a commissioner without raising county taxes. Therefore, I would be cautious if I were the borough how big a stink they make about a reassessment because like I said, there’s only one reason that municipalities are going to lobby the commissioners to reassess. So, just my two cents.”
Could a reassessment happen?
Flannery said, “I would agree to some extent it is overdue, but we have to look at who it’s going to hurt if we do every assessment and that’s always been a concern of mine with our constituents is those people that have been loyal and paid their taxes and in their homes for 20 years, 30 years, they’re going to get a tax increase. Some of the newer homes bought might get a tax decrease. I’ve said it’s the third rule. A third will stay the same, a third will go up and a third will go down. But at the end of the day, it’s going to cost the county $4 or $5 million and it’s going to allow many municipalities that have maxed out their tax increase millage rate, to raise taxes in their respective municipality. So I just think it’s important that we be transparent from that perspective.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The borough, let’s face it, they would have some of the oldest housing in the county, as would any of the towns because they’ve been around the longest and so they would overall benefit by just the increase of the property assessment and the taxes. So I assume that’s why you would find more municipalities with older housing in favor of this, which from their perspective makes total sense, because they’re telling you probably well we’re going to need more funding and once we hit our cap, we can’t really get any more funding from the people who live here, which is why we claim even more so than others that the assessment right now as it stands is unfair.”
Flannery said, “Again, but what you’re saying is those constituents within the borough, many of them with older properties are going to face tax increases. The county will get blamed for that because we redid an assessment, yet, that municipality is the one in favor of it. So, again, we really have to be careful in proceeding with us and how we do it. So that’s what I can tell you my opinion right now.”