Forks Supervisors Reject Tax Appeal for Riverview Estates
Forks Township officials disagree about paying Riverview Estates, developed by Gary Strausser, $3,325 from a tax reassessment.
The supervisors at their meeting last Thursday night rejected a tax assessment appeal stipulation that would have paid Riverview Estates $3,325.
Solicitor Karl Kline told the board that Northampton County had agreed that Riverview Estates was overtaxed on six parcels in Forks Township.
"It's really a numbers game, an assessment game," Kline said. "The county and school district will lose more on the appeal than the township. They are agreeable. My recommendation is to approve it."
That recommendation didn't fly with supervisors.
Supervisors David Billings, Robert Egolf and John O'Neil all voted "no," defeating the motion 3-2.
"Historically, we approve," Egolf said. "I don't recall in my tenure that we haven't. I think things, though, are rapidly changing in the financial landscape."
Billings objected as well.
"We're talking a lot more than $300," he said. "We're talking more than $3,000."
Kline said the settlement amount did not seem out of line.
Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss asked Kline "so where do we go from here?"
Kline said he would have to notify the county that the settlement wasn't acceptable.
Following the meeting, Kline clarified the board's position in an email early Friday.
Kline said at the end of the meeting that the board voted unanimously to suspend any action on the tax assessment appeal stipulation in order to obtain additional information concerning the tax assessment appeal and the general appeal process.
He said the board would consider this additional information and will vote on the tax assessment stipulation at the June 21 meeting.
"The members realized that perhaps they made their decision without complete information about the particular tax assessment appeal and the tax assessment appeal law and procedures in general," Kline said. "The board will reevaluate the initial action it took. As I had indicated, if an appraisal proves that a taxpayer's property value has dropped significantly, then the taxpayer is entitled to a reduction in the tax assessment for the property."