Judge to rule on reassessment arguments

Full story: Evening Sun 35
A judge will decide next week on whether he will dismiss all or parts of a lawsuit filed by Freedom Township against Adams County over the reassessment of property values. Full Story
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Moose

Gettysburg, PA

#1 Jan 8, 2011
This has been a real tragedy. If the reassessment stays as it is, many people will have been harmed by ridiculous assessments on their properties primarily because 21st Century Appraisals can't tell the difference in values for an unsound building (not fit to live in) and a nice roomy comfortable home.

http://spreadthemustard.com/Tax%20Assessment/...

If the reassessment reverts back to the old values, many people will have been harmed due to the additional expenses they have incurred in this rotten economy, because 21st Century Appraisals did such a poor job. The one common denominator is 21st Century Appraisals. How they keep operating in Pennsylvania is beyond me.

This whole process is and has been a no-win situation for all of us. I can't wait until it's all over with and Tim and his band of nincompoops moves on, never to be heard from again. That's probably wishful thinking, because I'm sure his band will be in the news again, just as soon as they release the new values in their next unfortunate county. They are their own worst enemies and will bring themselves down. There was hardly a peep about unfair taxes prior to their arrival in Adams County. Not until they put their indelible stamp on us, did anyone rise up and take notice. The Barr family says it has been working 40 years for tax fairness, and this is the best they can do? They're not making it better, they make it worse with every reassessment they are awarded. When property taxes are finally replaced as the primary funding source of local governments, it won't be due to their efforts in trying to amend it, but it will be BECAUSE of them.

Adams Voice of the People

Carlisle, PA

#2 Jan 8, 2011
Moose wrote:
This has been a real tragedy. If the reassessment stays as it is, many people will have been harmed by ridiculous assessments on their properties primarily because 21st Century Appraisals can't tell the difference in values for an unsound building (not fit to live in) and a nice roomy comfortable home.
http://spreadthemustard.com/Tax%20Assessment/...
If the reassessment reverts back to the old values, many people will have been harmed due to the additional expenses they have incurred in this rotten economy, because 21st Century Appraisals did such a poor job. The one common denominator is 21st Century Appraisals. How they keep operating in Pennsylvania is beyond me.
This whole process is and has been a no-win situation for all of us. I can't wait until it's all over with and Tim and his band of nincompoops moves on, never to be heard from again. That's probably wishful thinking, because I'm sure his band will be in the news again, just as soon as they release the new values in their next unfortunate county. They are their own worst enemies and will bring themselves down. There was hardly a peep about unfair taxes prior to their arrival in Adams County. Not until they put their indelible stamp on us, did anyone rise up and take notice. The Barr family says it has been working 40 years for tax fairness, and this is the best they can do? They're not making it better, they make it worse with every reassessment they are awarded. When property taxes are finally replaced as the primary funding source of local governments, it won't be due to their efforts in trying to amend it, but it will be BECAUSE of them.
Please don't encourage the People to see Tim Barr as the scapegoat in all this. He was hired by people who are blindly believing him to be right, without getting certainty.

I am all for speaking up, and you have done it well, but our problems were caused by political indifference, he is just guilty of shoddy work. The people who hired him; they are the fault. He is hired purposely to take the heat off the politicians...and you are letting it happen.

Politicians always hire contractors to do jobs their staff can do, when they know the job will be unpopular, so this is a normal tactic. Don't be fooled!
Moose

Gettysburg, PA

#3 Jan 8, 2011
Adams Voice of the People wrote:
<quoted text>
Please don't encourage the People to see Tim Barr as the scapegoat in all this. He was hired by people who are blindly believing him to be right, without getting certainty.
I am all for speaking up, and you have done it well, but our problems were caused by political indifference, he is just guilty of shoddy work. The people who hired him; they are the fault. He is hired purposely to take the heat off the politicians...and you are letting it happen.
Politicians always hire contractors to do jobs their staff can do, when they know the job will be unpopular, so this is a normal tactic. Don't be fooled!
Agree to a point, but sometimes you don't know what kind of a product you are getting, until you buy it. From what I understand, they give a nice presentation. The bottom line is, if the product was not so darn flawed, and gave property values somewhere close to FMV in the beginning (like it should have), we would not need to go through all this baloney trying to make it right. Without a doubt, the county officials ignored our pleas, particularly through the Formal Appeals. And CAMA, is only as good as the data you put into it.
xxxxxxxx

Shippensburg, PA

#4 Jan 8, 2011
So moose, are you defending our commissioners?
Are you saying it was through no fault of their own? It's not their fault they didn't understand what they were buying?
"Sometimes you don't know what kind of product you are getting" Are you serious? If I spending 2 million of other peoples money I will certainly know what I'm buying.

On your own website you state that the commissioners should have known better since other counties were already in litigation with them.

As always moose, you're going off on a tangent.

Any other brilliant statements?
paul kellett

Newville, PA

#5 Jan 8, 2011
Lets be honest. Tim Barr tells the Commissioners he has got it covered feeds them a bogus COD, does not give them the numbers fast enough to have them analyzed and violates the IAAO standards by doing "sales chasing" used "to perfect the models" The Commissioners were lied to. But does that forgive them. He-- No!! They should have done a lot better. But Moose is not off on a tangent this mess is big enough for blame to be placed on a lot of folks, but certainly not Moose. Paul Kellett
Joe Luciano

Dover, PA

#6 Jan 8, 2011
I'm in Cumberland County and can state that The commissioners are ultimately responsible for A. selecting low ball bidder 21st Century and B. For certifying the assessment.
21st Century have built a smoke and mirrors sales pitch to counties over the years which is like a steamroller. It's no secret they sell themselves as cushions for fallout when things go wrong with faulty appraisals (and with them you can count on it). Timmie Barr (does he even have his CPE yet?) is a propoganda machine who likes to run over opposition with numbers, numbers and numbers all crunched to his formulation to fit conditions.
Another writer from Cumberland said it right. Get rid of appraisals, assessments and the patronage tax office and base collections for gov'ts and schools on sales and income taxes. Why are we paying for junk appraisal systems? Vote out your commissioners for being naive and stubborn and go after your legislators to flush this miserable system.
Joe Luciano
S. Middleton
yep yep

Gettysburg, PA

#7 Jan 9, 2011
I don't understand - is there a trial in September or is there a court decision next week ? See peoples voice adams...
paul kellett

Newville, PA

#8 Jan 9, 2011
It seems at this time that there will be a decision that we will have a trial in Sept. The Judge has not "ruled" on whether or not to dismiss but he did set a trial date. I want to say loud and clear the delay is all due to the County. Freedom would be happy to go next week. The County thought a trial in November was appropriate, give them enough time to prepare a defense. It certainly is not because they want to wait till after the election (sarcasm). The Judge wants to hear if the COD is less than 15%, a question that should have been answered before certifying the numbers, why will it take them 9 months to fulfill Judge Kuhn's order? Paul Kellett
Moose

Gettysburg, PA

#9 Jan 10, 2011
xxxxxxxx wrote:
So moose, are you defending our commissioners?
Are you saying it was through no fault of their own? It's not their fault they didn't understand what they were buying?
"Sometimes you don't know what kind of product you are getting" Are you serious? If I spending 2 million of other peoples money I will certainly know what I'm buying.
On your own website you state that the commissioners should have known better since other counties were already in litigation with them.
As always moose, you're going off on a tangent.
Any other brilliant statements?
Is that you again Partypooper?

Tim Barr is a snake oil salesman. Sitting through one of his presentations will dull anyone's senses. That is what I am saying.
TAX PAYER

Gettysburg, PA

#10 Jan 10, 2011
paul kellett wrote:
It seems at this time that there will be a decision that we will have a trial in Sept. The Judge has not "ruled" on whether or not to dismiss but he did set a trial date. I want to say loud and clear the delay is all due to the County. Freedom would be happy to go next week. The County thought a trial in November was appropriate, give them enough time to prepare a defense. It certainly is not because they want to wait till after the election (sarcasm). The Judge wants to hear if the COD is less than 15%, a question that should have been answered before certifying the numbers, why will it take them 9 months to fulfill Judge Kuhn's order? Paul Kellett
As a Judge, is he not smart enough to realize if the Commissioners stated and certified the COD numbers representing we the people as officials in local Government? What more do they need to prepare for? They need to show the data and the math on how they arrived at the COD it must be public information. Is that not the law? If they donít have that by now then our local Government is corrupt and the people in it need to be removed!
Moose

Gettysburg, PA

#11 Jan 10, 2011
xxxxxxxx wrote:
So moose, are you defending our commissioners?
Are you saying it was through no fault of their own? It's not their fault they didn't understand what they were buying?
"Sometimes you don't know what kind of product you are getting" Are you serious? If I spending 2 million of other peoples money I will certainly know what I'm buying.
On your own website you state that the commissioners should have known better since other counties were already in litigation with them.
As always moose, you're going off on a tangent.
Any other brilliant statements?
BTW Mr. xxxxxxx, While I use a screen name, my real name is Bruce Hollinger and it is real easy to find my name and address from my website. http://spreadthemustard.com/ .

Why don't you use your real name and share with the readers, just what it is you have done to help the citizens through this ordeal, other than to criticize those who ARE trying to help others. I'm anxious to hear. Otherwise, let the meaningful exchanges to those who are trying to make sense of this fiasco.
paul kellett

Newville, PA

#12 Jan 10, 2011
TAX PAYER wrote:
<quoted text>
As a Judge, is he not smart enough to realize if the Commissioners stated and certified the COD numbers representing we the people as officials in local Government? What more do they need to prepare for? They need to show the data and the math on how they arrived at the COD it must be public information. Is that not the law? If they donít have that by now then our local Government is corrupt and the people in it need to be removed!
Well, taxpayer, I agree. We have asked for the COD calculations under PA's Right To Know Law, We have offered to do those calculations with the County staff, But the County refuses. The Commissioners when asked how they got the COD of 3.96% said it was calculated by 21st Century, but "confirmed" by County Staff. We asked them for the confirmation calculations, they have refused to provide them. If any one thinks I am not telling the truth, go to the Commissioner's meeting Wed. morning 9AM and ask for these documents. You have a "Right To Know" under PA law. Paul Kellett
Big Dog

Fort Myers, FL

#13 Jan 10, 2011
paul kellett wrote:
It seems at this time that there will be a decision that we will have a trial in Sept. The Judge has not "ruled" on whether or not to dismiss but he did set a trial date. I want to say loud and clear the delay is all due to the County. Freedom would be happy to go next week. The County thought a trial in November was appropriate, give them enough time to prepare a defense. It certainly is not because they want to wait till after the election (sarcasm). The Judge wants to hear if the COD is less than 15%, a question that should have been answered before certifying the numbers, why will it take them 9 months to fulfill Judge Kuhn's order? Paul Kellett
The only reason to delay the presentation of defense for so long is that one does not exist and that it will take that long to manufacture one that could be plausable. This is not a criminal trial where witnesses and suspects have to be located and deposed, and evidence has to be examined in a forensic lab for several months, this is a civil trial about a "statistical formula" that has already been used to establish the "facts" of the case at hand. The biggest difference here is that in a civil trial the standard of proof is much lower, a preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to a criminal trial where the standard is much higher, proof beyond a reasonable doubt. By delaying the trial for as long as possible the defense hopes to sway the decision in their favor. Delay of a trial for as long as possible is a standard defense tactic in the hopes that evidence will be lost, witnesses will forget what they saw or heard or just become disinterested or that the rules will change in the defense's favor. "Justice delayed is justice denied." William E. Gladstone

“Tax Fairness is Needed”

Since: Aug 10

Middletown, PA

#14 Jan 11, 2011
paul kellett wrote:
Lets be honest. Tim Barr tells the Commissioners he has got it covered feeds them a bogus COD, does not give them the numbers fast enough to have them analyzed and violates the IAAO standards by doing "sales chasing" used "to perfect the models" The Commissioners were lied to. But does that forgive them. He-- No!! They should have done a lot better. But Moose is not off on a tangent this mess is big enough for blame to be placed on a lot of folks, but certainly not Moose. Paul Kellett
Paul, I wish you would be careful with such false and baseless allegations. You made your perspective clear on the stand, and presented your version of a COD - while admitting that it was based on limited 2010 sales, MLS sales only, and that you did no trimming. Maybe you did the math right (I don't know), but your SAMPLE was wrong and your process was incomplete - making it meaningless.

So to be clear:
There was no sales chasing, no doctoring of data to tweak sold properties. The formula comes from a study of the sales, then that formula is applied to all the parcels the same: sold and unsold.

No one was lied to. The county Assessment Office participated in the subjective judgement parts of the reval work, reviewed the formula and sales for every neighborhood, and fed back info on any problems they found so that it could be improved and corrected. This process went on for months before the notices were mailed.

USPAP standards and IAAO guidelines were followed throughout the process, including the calculation of the true COD, LOA, and PRD for the reval. Until your "witness" saw I had a copy of the IAAO guidelines for Ratio/COD studies with me - I don't think anyone knew such a document existed.

The appraisal date if this reval is 1/1/2010. That means that only sales through the end of 2009 are relevant. As I saw in another article today, the real estate market has continued to decline in Adams County during 2010 - so it makes sense that "today's values" would be lower than the reval values. If this trend continues, the county could do another reval - lower all the values - and raise the millage to compensate. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

At some point they should do another update, at which point uniformity could be further improved - but to mail notices in 2011 would be based on 2008/2009/2010 sales and I think that everyone would agree we need a little more distance from the time when the market changed direction.

“Tax Fairness is Needed”

Since: Aug 10

Middletown, PA

#15 Jan 11, 2011
paul kellett wrote:
<quoted text>Well, taxpayer, I agree. We have asked for the COD calculations under PA's Right To Know Law, We have offered to do those calculations with the County staff, But the County refuses. The Commissioners when asked how they got the COD of 3.96% said it was calculated by 21st Century, but "confirmed" by County Staff. We asked them for the confirmation calculations, they have refused to provide them. If any one thinks I am not telling the truth, go to the Commissioner's meeting Wed. morning 9AM and ask for these documents. You have a "Right To Know" under PA law. Paul Kellett
Its too bad that before the first hearing you didn't agree to split the cost with the county on an independent study. Such a study could have tested the sales the reassessment was based on, reviewed the validation codes and process, and determined the COD, Level of Assessment, and Price-Related Differential. There are even sales-chasing tests that can be done. But you needed your opportunity to "share your view" with the crowd that day. So you turned the county down.
Then you propose to do your own study (which you already presented the results of in court) where you control the sample, use only sales after the reassessment appraisal period, do no trimming, ignore IAAO guidelines, let the county "participate" - and then expect anyone to abide by the findings? Wow.
This is all legal now, so you and I both probably shouldn't be posting, But let me share something that should be obvious.
The COD/LOA/PRD calculations done for the reassessment are based on the language in the reassessment contract.(you can ask "moose" for a copy). The "validated comparable sales" established during the formula development process were the basis of the models, the values, and the defense of those values. By contract they could be as old as 2006, but only time-adjusted 2007-2009 were actually used in the final analysis. All Recorder of Deeds sales went through a validation process based on STEB and IAAO guidelines. Licensed mass-appraisers reviewed every sale to make sure improvements hadn't been added since the sale or other issues.
The final statistics were based on the same "sample" that was used for the reval. This is the only measurement that can be used to measure the quality of the models - based on the same evidence the original appraiser had.
An independent reviewer might start with ALL the 2007-2009 sales again, the sales validation codes, apply IAAO statistical trimming techniques. They might even get something higher than 4%.

Bottom line,- the real issue regarding COD isn't how each party did the math. The issue is agreeing on:
1) The sample source (all sales or MLS sales)
2) The sample period (2007-2009 or 6 months in 2010)
3) The validation rules (STEB/IAAO or none)
4) The trimming (IAAO/Appraiser Review or none)
5) The stratification (property types, districts, etc)
6) The goals (IAAO, 21st Contract, Judge Kuhn, or ???)
7) The action to be taken based on the result.
I fear this has all become a political game to many involved - and the goals of the reval and the goals of People's Voice Adams have been lost in the shuffle. I have not met ANYONE (21st, County or reval-opposers) who doesn't want what is best for the county and as fair as possible. This is a rough process, especially in a changing/declining market. Unfortunately, I think this is too good a fodder for this years election cycle.
The best solution for all involved is to forget all the posturing and legal rambling, and start talking about how to improve the county data, sales information, and laws for the next reval. Yes, I said the next one. MD does one every three year. A PA supreme court ruled regular revals are necessary. So start building toward the future instead of tearing down the progress made to date. The county has the tools to do an update every couple of years mostly in-house and at a fraction of the post-20-year cost.

“Tax Fairness is Needed”

Since: Aug 10

Middletown, PA

#16 Jan 11, 2011
paul kellett wrote:
<quoted text>Well, taxpayer, I agree. We have asked for the COD calculations under PA's Right To Know Law, We have offered to do those calculations with the County staff, But the County refuses. The Commissioners when asked how they got the COD of 3.96% said it was calculated by 21st Century, but "confirmed" by County Staff. We asked them for the confirmation calculations, they have refused to provide them. If any one thinks I am not telling the truth, go to the Commissioner's meeting Wed. morning 9AM and ask for these documents. You have a "Right To Know" under PA law. Paul Kellett
Its too bad that before the first hearing you didn't agree to split the cost with the county on an independent study. Such a study could have tested the sales the reassessment was based on, reviewed the validation codes and process, and determined the COD, Level of Assessment, and Price-Related Differential. There are even sales-chasing tests that can be done. But you needed your opportunity to "share your view" with the crowd that day. So you turned the county down.
Then you propose to do your own study (which you already presented the results of in court) where you control the sample, use only sales after the reassessment appraisal period, do no trimming, ignore IAAO guidelines, let the county "participate" - and then expect anyone to abide by the findings? Wow.
This is all legal now, so you and I both probably shouldn't be posting, But let me share something that should be obvious.
The COD/LOA/PRD calculations done for the reassessment are based on the language in the reassessment contract.(you can ask "moose" for a copy). The "validated comparable sales" established during the formula development process were the basis of the models, the values, and the defense of those values. By contract they could be as old as 2006, but only time-adjusted 2007-2009 were actually used in the final analysis. All Recorder of Deeds sales went through a validation process based on STEB and IAAO guidelines. Licensed mass-appraisers reviewed every sale to make sure improvements hadn't been added since the sale or other issues.
The final statistics were based on the same "sample" that was used for the reval. This is the only measurement that can be used to measure the quality of the models - based on the same evidence the original appraiser had.
An independent reviewer might start with ALL the 2007-2009 sales again, the sales validation codes, apply IAAO statistical trimming techniques. They might even get something higher than 4%.

Bottom line,- the real issue regarding COD isn't how each party did the math. The issue is agreeing on:
1) The sample source (all sales or MLS sales)
2) The sample period (2007-2009 or 6 months in 2010)
3) The validation rules (STEB/IAAO or none)
4) The trimming (IAAO/Appraiser Review or none)
5) The stratification (property types, districts, etc)
6) The goals (IAAO, 21st Contract, Judge Kuhn, or ???)
7) The action to be taken based on the result.
I fear this has all become a political game to many involved - and the goals of the reval and the goals of People's Voice Adams have been lost in the shuffle. I have not met ANYONE (21st, County or reval-opposers) who doesn't want what is best for the county and as fair as possible. This is a rough process, especially in a changing/declining market. Unfortunately, I think this is too good a fodder for this years election cycle.

“Tax Fairness is Needed”

Since: Aug 10

Middletown, PA

#17 Jan 11, 2011
The best solution for all involved is to forget all the posturing and legal rambling, and start talking about how to improve the county data, sales information, and laws for the next reval. Yes, I said the next one. MD does one every three year. A PA supreme court ruled regular revals are necessary. So start building toward the future instead of tearing down the progress made to date. The county has the tools to do an update every couple of years mostly in-house and at a fraction of the post-20-year cost.

“Tax Fairness is Needed”

Since: Aug 10

Middletown, PA

#19 Jan 11, 2011
Sorry, about the repeat posts - I went over 4000 bytes and then nothing would post. Now there are dups. Maybe the forum manager can delete #15 and #18
Moose

Gettysburg, PA

#20 Jan 11, 2011
Tim Barr wrote:
The best solution for all involved is to forget all the posturing and legal rambling, and start talking about how to improve the county data, sales information, and laws for the next reval. Yes, I said the next one. MD does one every three year. A PA supreme court ruled regular revals are necessary. So start building toward the future instead of tearing down the progress made to date. The county has the tools to do an update every couple of years mostly in-house and at a fraction of the post-20-year cost.
God help us if there is another reval with your company involved.

http://spreadthemustard.com/Tax%20Assessment/...

I don't get using numbers up to the end of 2009. The whole objective is to test the values that you established on July 1, 2010. To use sales from previous years does absolutely nothing. If that is what the IAAO professes, than the whole IAAO must be full of morons.
Joe Luciano

Kingston, PA

#21 Jan 11, 2011
"The Next one Tim".
Don't count on it. There is legislative movement (thanks to many frustrated and angry 21st Century victims state wide) to look at replacing the system you and your family have had 40 years to exploit.
Will we see reform or rather the banishment of taxing people's homes to their death? That is the hope. Fortunately you have helped the process tremendously by your own worst P/R campaigns.
Schools and governments can be funded without relying on governments and 21st Century telling us what OUR properties are worth and what's "fair".
Income, sales, casino, service fees can all replace the cursed system your involved with no recurrent cost nor burdensome process. Best of all it leaves peoples homes in their hands without the threat of being taxed out of it in later years.
Don't know if you've heard but Cumberland County commissioner Rick Rovegno threw in the towel today and won't run again. He certified the 2010 assessment mess and has now seen what drinking your Kool-aid has done.
Keep up the bad work.

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