LTE: About the Reassessment Lawsuit

I am told that there have been a few letters to the editor concerning property reassessment.  I am also told that there have been articles in the local news Web sites and newspapers concerning the same.  I have not read any of them, but am glad there has been some response be it positive or negative, since Clearfield County citizens are now aware of the problem. 

Like everyone else, I am just a local resident who works hard for every penny earned, and the following is why I got involved in this issue and is not necessarily the opinion of the Committee for Fair Reassessment.  The point of this lawsuit is two fold:  First, I am personally paying $1,500 to $2,000 over what other comparable Clearfield County homes  are paying.  I did my homework and researched homes the same size and larger, just as nice or nicer, and found that I am not being fairly taxed in comparison.  The other members of the Committee are in the same boat.  So, to make sure we were justified, the Committee hired a professional who has spent his lifetime career involved with property tax values. 

Through his research we found, or he found, that Clearfield County properties are so unevenly taxed that there is upwards of 400 percent differential throughout the county.  Some areas are high, some low and some right on.  The point being, it is uneven and unfair.  In property assessment differentials, Clearfield County is one of the worst in the state. 

Secondly, this unfairness is costing jobs in Clearfield County.  If you are a carpenter, plumber, electrician, landscaper, realtor, banker, etc., you should be downright mad.  If you sell anything from pizza to cars you should be downright mad, because the aforementioned people  are not spending money in your business.   Residents of  Clearfield county are reluctant to build new homes, remodel, or even purchase new homes for fear of what they will have to pay in property taxes.  This issue is costing people jobs.  I witnessed it first hand when I was a partner in a Clearfield County housing development.  We lost a minimum of 30 customers in a six month period due to the outrageous estimates these potential home-buyers got from the assessment office.  The result was construction jobs lost, lost revenue for other businesses where the construction crews would have spent money,  and tax base lost since the houses weren’t built.   

Look at the housing developments in Clearfield County. There is nothing happening; sure part of it is the national and local economy, but most is it is due to the unfair Clearfield County property taxes.  The problem is, in fact, costing Clearfield County hundreds of jobs, residual sales by all businesses, and potential tax revenue from an increased tax base.

The focus in the media, again I am told, is “who” is involved in this lawsuit, and not “what” the actual problem is.  We all go behind a curtain to vote.  Why is “who” is involved even important?  Clearfield County property taxes are uneven and unfair.  The commissioners know it, and so do all of the citizens of Clearfield County.  If property reassessment is not the answer to make it fair and even, what is?  If done correctly, reassessment is the only way to make our property taxes fair.  Maybe the commissioners should have their own study done.

David Fox


April 2010 Message from the Manager: Clearfield Edition
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