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Municipal percentages calculated

Some towns will see percentage drop, while others, like Harveys Lake, will see big hikes.

Property owners in Laflin will pay 20 percent less toward county taxes on the whole next year because of the reassessment.

On the other extreme, Harveys Lake property owners will pay 133 percent more for county government.

The numbers come from a new statistical analysis prepared by 21st Century Appraisals Inc., Luzerne County’s reassessment company.

The county will still be entitled to $77.7 million in property tax revenue – the same as before the reassessment – but the share contributed by each property owner could stay the same or go up or down.

21st Century produced municipal averages to show how property owners would fare overall at the local level. The company cautions that individual property owners may not fit into the mold and may end up receiving increases or decreases in county taxes that contradict what happened in the municipality overall.

After Laflin, the top five reductions in county tax payments are set to occur in the following municipalities: Wright Township, down18 percent; Hanover and Hazle townships, down 17 percent; and West Hazleton and Conyngham, down 16 percent.

With increases, Harveys Lake is followed by Buck Township, which is up 108 percent, and Penn Lake Park, which faces a county tax share increase of 85 percent.

Harveys Lake’s ranking as the top increase is not a surprise. Property owners have complained loudly to county commissioners, arguing that many new values are unrealistic and inaccurate. County commissioners asked 21st Century during their recent commissioner meeting to review the values in the borough.

In a July 18 letter to county commissioners, Harveys Lake Mayor Richard Boice said the reassessment has “serious flaws and injustices.”

“Many of our residents will lose their homes due to the inability to pay these ridiculous taxes,” he wrote. “There is a great deal of anxiety among our residents, in particular seniors and young working families.”

Laflin Borough Council member Ray Pendolphi was not aware that borough residents overall face a reduction in county taxes. While some residents, when pressed, will concede that they have received tax reductions, the only people publicly coming forward are those unhappy with assessment hikes, he said.

Pendolphi said he is slated to receive a “significant reduction” on his own property. He said he always suspected his property was overassessed, but he personally believes commissioners should take a fresh look at the new values.

“I’m on a fixed income, but I’m willing to wait to get it right. It should be held back until it gets checked out, to see where mistakes were made,” said the 75-year-old, who has served on council, on and off, for 30 years.

Tim Barr, of the reassessment company 21st Century Appraisals Inc., cautions that property owners shouldn’t apply the newly released percentages to school taxes. Municipal averages for school taxes must be calculated separately, based on the varying revenue collected by each school district.

For example, Barr determined during a quick review that Ashley property owners will pay 20 percent more toward Hanover Area School District taxes, even though their county tax share will increase 3 percent.

Local averages after reassessment appeal update

Luzerne County’s reassessment company has released the following estimates of how much more or less property owners in each municipality will pay, on average, toward county taxes after reassessment:

Harveys Lake, +133%

Buck Twp., +108%

Penn Lake Park, +85%

Nuangola, +51%

Fairmount Twp., +36%

Lake Twp., +30%

Lehman Twp., +28%

Jeddo, +27%

New Columbus, +27%

Dennison Twp., +23%

Ross Twp., +22%

Franklin Twp., +20%

Union Twp., +20%

Hunlock Twp., +20%

Huntington Twp., +20%

Bear Creek Twp., +19%

Dorrance Twp., +19%

Jackson Twp., +19%

Pringle, +18%

Black Creek Twp., +18%

Slocum Twp., +18%

Exeter Twp., +17%

Shickshinny, +13%

Kingston Twp., +12%

Luzerne, +11%

Conyngham Twp., +11%

Foster Twp., +10%

Plymouth Twp., +10%

Bear Creek Village, +10%

Forty Fort, +9%

Avoca, +8%

Duryea, +8%

Hollenback Twp., +8%

Swoyersville, +7%

Rice Twp., +7%

Courtdale, +6%

Dallas Twp., +6%

Dallas, +6%

West Pittston, +6%

Newport Twp., +6%

Ashley, +3%

Nescopeck Twp., +3%

Sugar Notch, +2%

Larksville, +1%

Nanticoke, +1%

Pittston, +1%

West Wyoming, +1%

Jenkins Twp., 0%

Nescopeck, 0%

Plymouth, 0%

Freeland, -1%

Kingston, -2%

Wyoming, -2%

Hazleton, -4%

Butler Twp., -4%

Edwardsville, -4%

Fairview Twp., -4%

Plains Twp., -6%

Salem Twp., -6%

Laurel Run, -6%

White Haven, -6%

Sugarloaf Twp., -7%

Dupont, -7%

Exeter, -8%

Hughestown, -8%

Wilkes-Barre Twp., -9%

Wilkes-Barre, -10%

Warrior Run, -11%

Pittston Twp., -12%

Yatesville, -13%

West Hazleton, -16%

Conyngham, -16%

Hanover Twp., -17%

Hazle Twp., -17%

Wright Twp., -18%

Laflin, -20%

Roughly 7,000 Luzerne County property owners have sought formal assessment appeals to date, according to county officials.

The county had estimated that 15,000 appeals would be filed.

Roughly 95,850 property owners still have upcoming deadlines to file appeals on July 28, and Aug. 4, 6 and 11.

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