No immediate decision on Washington County reassessment

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After hearing seven minutes of argument Tuesday morning, Washington County President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca did not immediately make a decision on the fate of a countywide property reassessment.


Susan Mondik Key, attorney for the Washington and McGuffey school districts, late last month prepared a request, asking the judge to set a deadline for the county to hire a vendor to conduct the reassessment of all real estate within its boundaries.


In the meantime, Commonwealth Court quashed the county’s appeal in the reassement case.


Attorney Robert Grimm, representing the county, said he is evaluating whether the county will appeal the Commonwealth Court order, and he argued that O’Dell Seneca should not rule on Key’s request until all appeals are exhausted.


“I don’t see what they have to appeal,” Key told the judge.


Grimm responded that if the county prevails in a higher court, “the county and taxpayers are putting millions of dollars out there for nothing.”


The cost of the assessment has been estimated at $8 million.


The school districts went to court four years ago to force a reassessment, and the initial directive from the court said the county commissioners had to begin and “diligently pursue” the process during their then-current terms of office, a time period that expired at the beginning of 2012.


On Wednesday, the judge took the matter under advisement but did not indicate when she will rule.


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