Assessed property value sees increase
Published: November 15, 2012
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POTTSVILLE - The assessed property value of Schuylkill County increased about $37 million from 2012, a result that could mean higher taxes for owners as the county commissioners prepare next year's budget.
"We have costs going up but we are trying to keep everything in line. The last thing we want to see is taxes go up," Schuylkill County Commissioner George F. Halcovage said Thursday. "We are challenging all our employees to be as lean as possible and we understand we are working with the general public's money so we need to work as efficiently as possible."
According to a report from the county assessment bureau during a work session Thursday, the assessed value of real estate for the county is $2,526,963,670 for 2013, an increase of $37,050,750 from last year. The assessment value includes $7,067,950 for active minerals and $728,640 for county-held minerals.
The fair market value of the property for 2013 is $5,053,925,141. The homestead median value of property is $26,570 for 2013.
"It is definitely a good sign that the economy is making a little bit of a difference," county Commissioner Gary J. Hess said. "We are asking all our departments and agencies to do their best in saving money to make sure we hold that line (on taxes). We are still concerned we are not totally out of the hard economic times and we definitely don't want a tax increase. We are looking for ways to spend the people's money wisely."
Hess said all three commissioners want to hold the line on taxes as they prepare the 2013 budget.
"There's quite a lot of challenges out there," Hess said. "The one thing on the top of our plate is to hopefully hold the line on taxes and continue offering all our services to our citizens."
The Schuylkill County commissioners authorized a letter of intent with Motorola Communications Inc. to upgrade the county's public safety communications network to narrowband frequencies complying with Federal Communications Commission mandates.
County Administrator Mark Scarbinsky said the county is still negotiating the deal with Motorola and the letter of intent allows both sides to begin necessary preparations. While the letter of intent does not include an estimated cost, Scarbinsky said last month the deal will probably be about $15 million to $16 million and will take about 12 to 18 months to complete.
The board also approved an agreement with M&T Bank for credit card service to the county and adopted a new policy providing strict internal controls for card usage.
The commissioners also awarded the bids for the Schuylkill Transportation System and Child Development surplus sale. STS received $25,474.69 for 18 vehicles and a tow trailer. Child Development sold three school buses for $5,205.75.
The agreement with Miller Bros. Construction Inc., 950 E. Main St., Schuylkill Haven, was amended for additional work on the work release center at the county prison. The contract was increased by $4,116, bringing the new total to $64,146.
The board extended an agreement with David W. Fannick Electrical-Mechanical Sales & Service, 335 S. Middle St., Frackville, for 30 days to complete the Rest Haven lighting project. The completion date for all work under the agreement will be Nov. 30.
The county also picked up a contract option for an additional three years with Maximus Consulting Service Inc., Harrisburg, for the federal Office of Business Management's central services cost allocation plan and analysis. Fees for the service are $14,000 for 2012, $14,600 for 2013 and $14,600 for 2014.
The courthouse will be closed Monday for Veterans Day. The commissioners' retirement board meeting will be held Wednesday immediately following the public meeting. The monthly prison board meeting will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the commissioners' board room.