Ocean View reasseses properties — some may pay more

Earlier this month, the Ocean View Town Council approved the Town’s operating budget for 2013. And, due to reassessment of the town’s 2,800 properties, property owners will, on average, not pay higher taxes this fiscal year.

According to Finance Director Lee Brubaker, last year, property owners were taxed 12.36 cents per $100 of assessed value. Under the new assessments, they will be taxed 15.88 cents per $100, but that increased tax rate comes on assessments that have generally decreased.

“The rate goes up, but because the assessed value is less, the taxes that are created are the same,” he said. “On an overall basis, [the process is] revenue-neutral. There was not an increase in revenue. The assessed value of everybody’s property would go down. I haven’t checked all 2,800, but I’m sure they have. But that the tax rate, the rate per hundred, would go up in comparison.”

Last year, the Town received $1.221 million in property taxes, and it will receive the same amount this year, under the tax increase. Brubaker acknowledged, though, that with the reassessments, some property owners will pay more taxes.

“But some property taxes, on an individual property – as the values are redistributed based on the ebb and flow of the value of properties in different sections of town – some people’s tax bills would go up and some people’s tax bills would go down,” he explained.

Brubaker said that the total value of taxable property in town is down 22 percent from its $987.5 million value last year, which was based on the 2007 property assessments. If an individual property owner’s taxes have increased, he said, it was because the value of their property did not drop as much as others in the town.

“If the value of your individual property went down less than 22 percent, that means your share of the taxes went up just a little bit,” he explained.

Reassessment letters were mailed to Ocean View property owners on April 16, notifying property owners of their new assessed property values, the assessed value from 2007 and an estimation of the owner’s 2013-fiscal-year property taxes. Tax bills are expected to be mailed out by the end of May.

Property owners who had questions or wished to appeal a reassessment had a period of 10 days, until April 27, to contact the Town to set up an appointment with a representative from PTA/DelVal, which performed the assessments. If the property owner is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal review, a formal written appeal may be filed with the Town. Any appeals will go before the Town’s Board of Assessment.

“He’s talking to people, explaining things on the phone. Certain people are coming in. If there’s a specific question on the value of their property or how we got to it, that’s what [the assessors’ representative] is here for,” he added.

Brubaker again emphasized that the reassessment is intended to be revenue-neutral and that the Town would not be receiving more than last year’s total of $1.221 million in property tax revenue.

“Our full reassessment is intended to be revenue-neutral,” reiterated Brubaker. “The best way we could demonstrate that it is revenue-neutral is to bill the same amount for fiscal ’13 in property taxes in the same amount we billed for fiscal-year ’12 taxes. It is intended to establish fair, current assessment values for all properties. That’s the intent of it — to try to fairly distribute the tax burden across all properties in town.”

Ocean View property owners can view their property’s reassessed value online by visiting http://www.vamanet.com/cgi-bin/MAPSRCHPGM?LOCAL=D01. For more information, call the town administrative office, at (302) 539-9797 or visit www.oceanviewde.com.