A property tax reassessment is on the way for New Castle County residents.
"We're currently targeting the 2023 tax bills," said County Executive Matt Meyer. "So, two years from now."
Meyer told residents he had no control over the reassessment, it's required to happen.
"It's court-ordered, and it's court-ordered statewide. The other counties have not yet settled their litigation, but there's a court order out there saying that, like us, they too need to reassess," Meyer said. "The last time county properties were assessed was 1983, in Kent County, 1987, and Sussex County, 1974."
Despite needing to undergo reassessment, Meyer made a promise on WDEL's Rick Jensen Show that county officials would do everything in their power to minimize the impact on tax payers.
"We're committed to doing this in a way that's fair and equitable, that's efficient, and also revenue-neutral," he said. "State law actually enables counties to raise tax revenue 15%--so we can sort of sneak in a 15% tax increase. I'm committed to all taxpayers that we're not going to do that. We're going to make it absolutely revenue-neutral."
The county would be making contributions to help with that minimizing effort.
"The money that it costs--which we think is in the neighborhood of $10 to $20 million--to do this, we're going to take it out of our reserves; We're not going to increase the burden on county taxpayers," Meyer said.
He also explained the tax rate would be adjusted, so it's not a one-to-one tax increase compared to reassessed value.
"If you're like me, you look at your assessed value, and the assessed value for my house is about $100,000, and I say, 'Man, my actual value is about four times that, so that means that my taxes are going to increase four times,'" Meyer said. "But I want to comfort people that that's actually not how it works. Almost everybody's assessed value will increase, but then the tax rate is readjusted downwards...There's sort of an average increase in assessed value."
If the average increase is four times a property's previous value, and one individual's home is assessed 4.2 times higher, and another's is assessed at 3.8 times higher, Meyer said the former will pay slightly more, the latter, slightly less.
He also clarified schools would have the ability to set their own increases, and he has no control over what they choose to do in terms of a revenue-neutral approach.
"Schools can add 10% to the taxes they get, just like the county can raise 15%, they can raise 10%," Meyer said. "We've committed to not do that; Schools, you should speak to your school board members, it's up to school boards whether they go ahead and increase by 10% or not."