Visit us on Google+

Commissioners Delay Assessment Appeal OK

SANATOGA PA – An agreement between the Pottsgrove School District and a local company to revise the property tax assessment for land and buildings the firm owns at 2148 E. High St. in Sanatoga village is receiving closer scrutiny from the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners.

The 6.39-acre property, owned by Stuarts Inc. of 175 S. Pleasant View Rd. and formerly occupied by the Tri-County Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership, is the subject of an assessment appeal initially filed in 2009, according to township Solicitor Charles Garner. The agreement recognizes the property for a period of time had been over-valued by several hundred thousand dollars, he said.

For the agreement to take effect school district, township and Montgomery County officials all must accept its terms, Garner said. Commissioners, when they met last Monday (Feb. 1, 2016) and were presented with the request for approval, did not decline … but they haven’t yet said “yes,” either.

The district claims the agreement would set assessment levels for the property at $1,458,000 for tax year 2010; $1,934,740 for tax years 2011-2015; and $1,264,500 for tax year 2016 and thereafter. The district’s solicitor law firm, Fox Rothschild LLP, handled negotiations in the deal, according to a Board of School Directors’ agenda. The document was approved by directors at their Jan. 12 meeting.

Garner speculated, but said he couldn’t be certain, that the over-assessment may have resulted from a property vacancy. Because he took his seat as solicitor on the same night the request was scheduled, the attorney added he hadn’t had time to review the agreement in detail.

The terms as proposed ask commissioners to acknowledge that, because of the over-assessment, Stuarts overpaid the township about $1,000 in taxes, Garner said. Lower Pottsgrove would be required to refund that money, which commissioners said they considered a relatively small amount. A much bigger refund, attributable to its significantly higher property tax rate, would be owed to Stuarts by the district, Garner noted.

Commissioners quickly agreed Garner deserved more time to study the proposal, understand the circumstances behind the prospective settlement, and then make a recommendation. They tabled any action until another date, possibly as early as their Feb. 18 meeting.

The car and truck dealership left the property last Oct. 31, and moved to a new location in Limerick Township.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 1 meeting):

Photo from Google Images

Like what you read? Get even more of it, free. Subscribe to The Post.