Faced with a shrinking tax base and the second-highest school tax rate in Luzerne County, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District is trying something new to boost revenue.
The district has hired a consultant to identify properties with under-assessed values and manage appeals to increase property assessments. Hundreds of thousands of tax dollars are at stake.
When litigation over the assessment of the Wyoming Valley Mall concluded in 2012, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District sent the mall owner a refund check of nearly $390,000 for two years of over-taxation, according to assessment records. The Luzerne County-assessed value of the mall property is $76.1 million. It was $89.1 million when mall owner PR Wyoming Valley LP filed a court appeal in 2009.
Last week, the school district filed appeals of tax values on 32 parcels to the Luzerne County Assessment Board of Appeals. Decisions from the county board can be appealed to county Court of Common Pleas.