Melanie Palubicki found the perfect home when she moved from Tennessee to Hermitage.
“I wanted to be in Mercer County. I loved the ranch. It was all on one floor, so when I get older, I won’t have to worry about steps,” she said.
Her home was built in 1979 — nine years after the last time houses were appraised in Mercer County.
That 50-year gap means realtors have to educate their buyers.
All homes, even these new homes that weren’t even built until decades later, are taxed on 1970s market values.
That’s the last time there was a county-wide property assessment.
“Different counties have different formulas they use. In an ever-changing world, it will change,” said Realtor Walter Johnson.
When County Commissioner Matt McConnell first took office, he wanted to see a reassessment.
“The law says it has to be done periodically, but the problem is, what is the definition of periodically?” he asked.
The county has made improvements to how it tracks properties.
Instead of old hand-drawn property deeds, everything has been digitized. Tax rolls have been updated.
The cost of a countywide reappraisal, however, is still out of reach.
“The assessment has to be paid for, and what we don’t have is people in the Mercer County area to do the mass reassessment,” McConnell said.
The price tag for a reassessment is $5 million.
The county only collects $24 million every year in real estate taxes, so in order to do the reassessment, they’d have to find that money somewhere.
Leaders know eventually, the reassessment will take place.
“Often times, there’s a court order that has forced counties in Pennsylvania to go through reassessments. That’s always a worry,” McConnell said.
When the reassessment comes, McConnell said he wants to make sure taxpayers don’t get hit with the bill.
Palubicki is skeptical.
“I think obviously, it’s going to go — when they reappraise — it’s going to go up. Everything goes up,” she said.