Reassessment Project Delayed In Sussex County

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials say a property reassessment project will likely be delayed by another year.

In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last Friday, Mayor Natalie Magdeburger presented community members with an update on the county’s reassessment project. She noted a delay from the appraiser will likely push the deadline for completing the project by one year.

“The good news is that they are not on track to meet the projected deadline,” she said. “Therefore, they will be asking the state to push it back an entire year. So the good news is whatever our new tax rate is going to be will likely be pushed back a whole year before we have to pay it.”

In 2020, the Delaware Chancery Court issued a ruling that determined property taxing systems in each of the state’s three counties were unconstitutional and did not comply with Delaware law. To that end, Sussex County contracted with Tyler Technologies to survey roughly 182,000 residential, commercial and agricultural properties over a three-year period.

The new assessment values, the county reports, are being set at what is projected to be the fair market value of the property as of July 1, 2023. Following the reassessment, property tax rates will be adjusted, and the corresponding tax bill will be generated in 2024.

“While it is too early to determine whether the value of an individual property may increase, decrease or stay the same, there will be multiple opportunities to appeal your property’s valuation if it appears to be too high, including through both an informal and formal process,” a statement from the county’s assessment department reads.

In an update last week, Town Manager Pat Schuchman said efforts to reassess properties continue. She noted that Tyler Technologies had already visited more than 90,000 properties, representing 47% of the overall parcel count.

“Due to Tyler Technologies staffing issues – that’s the appraiser for the county – the data collection is not currently on track to meet the projected deadline for data collection, which is by July 1, 2023,” she said. “The county is looking to extend the project timeline a year, which would change the first billing to be impacted by the new assessments to the fall of 2025.”

Magdeburger noted that the appraiser will continue to visit properties in the coming months.

“Everyone down here is getting reassessed, and you’ve probably seen them in and around town …,” she said. “They’ve got a job and their job is to figure out how much your properties are worth for Sussex County.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.