New Castle County Council joined County Executive Matt Meyer in supporting a revenue-neutral reassessment of property taxes required by a court decision.
Meyer told WDEL's Rick Jensen Show last week that while Delaware Code permits the county to use a reassessment to receive up to 15% of additional revenue, it wasn't the county's goal to do that, and County Council agreed.
Councilman David Carter said reassessment's time had come, including a pledge to pass legislation that would continue reassessments every five years going forward, with the current reassessment to be completed by July 2023.
"Long overdue. We need to achieve this equity, and I'm particularly happy that we're pressing forward for the recurring reassessment, so the county doesn't get into this situation again."
Meyer explained part of how the reassessment and tax rates would work on The Rick Jensen Show last week.
"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.
County Council also heard from Assistant County Attorney Nick Brannick, who said while New Castle County has reached a deal with education groups to allow them to start getting proposals to do the reassessment, they may still be taken to court over fees.
"Council for the original plaintiffs has told us they believe their fees and costs are $1.5 to 2.5 million"
Brannick did not give further details on how much the companies were bidding to survey New Castle County.
The property tax reassessment become an issue as the pool of higher-income homes has shifted in New Castle County, having the effect of giving school districts more, or less, money than they would have if homes are assessed at current values.