Agenda for March 5 Commissioners' Workshop !! UPDATE March 2 !!
Amendments in red::
The Mayor and Commissioners will meet at a workshop, Monday, March 5 at 9 am in the Commissioners’ Room. Following are items on the agenda for discussion:
- Presentation and discussion with PTA/DELVAL, a property assessment firm, concerning the steps and issues involved in a complete re-assessment of the City
- Presentation and discussion concerning the Rehoboth Beach Farmers’ Market’s desire and offer to contribute money for plants and volunteer hours to do some plantings in and around Grove Park – Commissioner Coluzzi.
- Presentation and discussion concerning the installation of bike racks, crosswalks and in-road pedestrian crossing signs – Commissioner Coluzzi.
- Discuss the feasibility of a city-wide beautification program including potential projects, costs involved, method for going forward and oversight – Commissioner Zellers.
- Discuss a draft ordinance to amend Section 220-27 of the Municipal Code of the City of Rehoboth Beach relating to sewer charges, specifically increasing the infrastructure improvement sewer service surcharge to 50% of the total of each sewer bill.
- Discuss a proposal from T2 Systems to provide a parking enforcement solution to the City that interfaces with Parkmobile, including all software, 10 handheld ticket writers, hosting of the City’s data, a system for ticket payments over the internet, etc.
This item is being added to the Agenda after its original posting and less than seven days before the meeting because the proposal from T2 Systems was not received until March 2, 2012 and the City staff needs the input of the Commissioners before their next meeting if this system is to be implemented before the start of the parking meter season....
Cape Gazette article, March 2
Assessment tops Rehoboth agenda
Cooper: “This is about fairness, to me
By Ryan Mavity, Cape Gazette
Call it “Everything you always wanted to know about Rehoboth Beach’s reassessment but were afraid to ask.”
The Rehoboth commissioners will hold a presentation and discussion with Rehoboth-based company PTA/DelVal, 9 a.m., Monday, March 5, in the city commissioners' room, on the steps and issues involved in a citywide reassessment.
Next year’s budget includes $132,000 set aside for reassessment, but city officials are worried the public does not understand why city officials are planning to reassess property values. Commissioner Stan Mills suggested a presentation to provide information and answer questions.
PTA/DelVal has offered to do the job for $40 a parcel, or about $128,000, far below previous quotes.
Property has not been reassessed since 1969. Besides the lower-than-expected cost, the commissioners have said reassessment is a way to improve fairness.
Cooper said while it's difficult to say which property assessments would increase and which would decrease until the reassessment is actually done, the values of ocean block properties are likely to go up, while the third and fourth blocks, farther away from the ocean, will probably go down.
Cooper said he believes oceanblock property assessments will go up because the land is so much more valuable than the home. In the 1969 assessment, buildings were more valuable than the land; now, Cooper said, he expects that to shift, with the land being assessed much higher than the structures.
Still, he said, it is hard to determine just what would happen.
“My hope is no one goes up too drastically,” Cooper said.
The reassessment is likely to lead to a new property tax rate, which Cooper said will be about 5 cents lower than today’s $1.77 per $100 of assessed value. Reassessments are not about revenue, he said.
“This is not to raise more revenue, but to bring equity to the way it’s collected,” Cooper said. “This is about fairness, to me.”
Cooper said properties have changed drastically since the last assessment, to the point that the assessed value is no longer in line with the actual property value. Consider siding, he said. Two homes, one with vinyl siding, the other with wood siding. Under the 1969 assessment, vinyl siding was considered more valuable, so homes with vinyl siding have higher assessed value. Today, wood siding is considered more valuable.
Mills said, 'Land values today do not reflect true value. The greatest inequity is lack of confidence in having accurate information for each property, which does not present a level playing field. Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, and to do that, the assessment criteria has to be accurate.' Besides new homes, many houses in Rehoboth have been renovated or remodeled, also changing their value. While not all home improvement projects change the value of the home – reroofing, replacing siding or fixing a sidewalk are considered maintenance and do not change assessment. However, other changes, such as an addition, adding a bathroom, installing a shed or garage, adding a second story or a fireplace and upgrading siding, do increase the assessment, Mills said.
Commissioner Bill Sargent said he favors reassessment because the cost – $40 a parcel – is 20 percent to 25 percent less than the city thought it would be. He said the inequities in the system are based on the fact that so much time has elapsed between the last assessment and today.
'Over time, how do you take an expenditure today and relate it to value in 1969?' Sargent said.
He said reassessment is not too big of a deal in Rehoboth, since the taxes are so low already.' It makes sense at this point,' Sargent said.
Commissioner Mark Hunker said he was interested in seeing whether it is necessary to spend $130,000 on reassessment instead of in areas such as parking improvements, downtown beautification and safety changes for bicyclists and pedestrians.
He said, 'It is someting that would be good to have, but not necessarily needed at this moment.
$130,000 is a lot of money to send in one budget year.' Hunker has said communication is the biggest key in moving forward with reassessment.
'There must be a mailer sent out; we can't just reply on press releases and ads in the paper. We have to be proactive and understand that there is no excuse for old-fashioned reaching out to citizens,' he said.
In the past, the city has piggybacked on Sussex County’s assessment, last done in 1974. Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, has asked county officials to consider a reassessment.
Cooper said if the county were to reassess there would be no point in Rehoboth reassessing. However, Cooper said he has been given no indication by county officials that there is any interest in a countywide reassessment.
We will continue to post articles of interest to Rehoboth Beach and its neighbors on the SOC website: www.saveourcityrehoboth.org