KELAYRES, Pa. — Commissioners settled a lawsuit and agreed to the first reassessment in decades. Schuylkill County is moving forward with a plan to reassess property values on the more than 94,000 pieces of real estate in the county.
It comes as county commissioners announce they’re settling a 2018 lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania Community Justice Project over inequitable property assessments.
Instead of paying to take the issue to court, the county agreed to a deal requiring a reassessment of all properties for the first time since 1996.
“Everything is going up, so that’s concerning, but it’s probably overdue,” said Mark Nenstiel of Kelayres.
Nenstiel bought his home in Kelayres in 2013 and says his property taxes are low. He hopes reassessment won’t mean much less money in his pocket, but he’s more concerned about elderly residents.
“I don’t know how anybody on a fixed income survives at this rate,” he said.
“People are old in this town,” added Alan Oswald. “People on fixed incomes; how’s that going to work?”
A few blocks away, Oswald is concerned about his neighbors but he says some could stand to gain from the process.
“I guess they have to do it and they’re going to do it. Like I keep saying, some people are going to benefit and some people aren’t,” he said. “It’s just a matter of what you got.”
Arlenys Tejada moved to Kelayres from Hazleton in search of a quieter community and lower taxes.
“It’s just crazy that I’m trying to get out of an area that has higher taxes and move to an area that has lower taxes and now you’re telling me that everything is changing,” she said.
Commissioners say their decision was economically necessary, allowing the county to avoid legal fees. They say statistics show reassessment is warranted.
Tejada feels residents should have had a say.
“Not even asking people before they took the decision, it’s not fair to us either,” she said.
Homeowners in Schuylkill County still have some time before any of these changes take effect.
The county said it will start taking quotations on properties in September and reassessment will be complete by January 1, 2026.
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