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March 2, 2012     Cape Gazette
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March 2, 2012

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18 FRIDAY, MARCH 2- MONDAY, MARCH 5. 2012 NI~WS Cape Gazette Cooper: "This is about fairness, to me" By Ryan Mavity Call it ?'Everything you always wanted to know about Rehoboth Beach's reassessment but were afraid toiask." The Rehoboth commissioners will hold a presentation and dis- cussion with Rehoboth-based company PTA/DetVal, 9 a.m., Monday, March 5, in the city commissioners' room, on the steps and issues involved in a citywideJ reassessment. Next year's budget includes $132,000 set aside for reassess- ment, but city officials are wor- ried the public does not under- stand why city officials are plan- ning to reassess property values. Commissioner Stan Mills sug- gested a!presentation to provide information and answer ques- tions. PTA/DelVal has offered to do the job for $40 a parcel, or about $128,000, far below previous quotes. Property has not been re- assessed since 1969. Besides the lower-than-expected cost, the commissioners have said re- assessment is a way to improve fairness. Cooper said while it's difficult to say which property assess- ments would increase and which would decrease until the re- assessment 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 ocean- block property assessments will go up because the land is so much more valuable than the home. In the 1969 assessment, Assq Ct , Grove Park0n Rehob0th 5 1 toP- to contribute in and around Grove Park. wide ( 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 deter- mine 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. Re- assessments are not about rev- enue, he said. "This is not to raise more rev- enue, 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 val- ue. 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 confi- dence in having accurate infor- mation 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 fix- ing a sidewalk are considered / RYAN MAVITY PHOTO 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. maintenance and do not change tification and safety changes for assessment. However, other bicyclists and pedestrians. changes, such as an addition, He said, "It is someting that adding a bathroom, installing a would be good to have, but not shed or garage, adding a second necessarily needed at this mo- story or a fireplace and upgrad- ment. $130,000 is a lot of money ing siding, do increase the as- to send in one budget year." sessment, Mills said. Hunker has said communica- Commissioner Bill Sarge nt tion is the biggest key in moving said he favors reassessment be- forward with reassessment. cause the cost - $40 a parcel - is "There must be a mailer sent 20 percent to 25 percent less than out; we can't just reply on press the city thought it would be. He releases and ads in the paper. We said the inequities in the system have to be proactive and under- are based on the fact that so stand that there is no excuse for much time has elapsed between old-fashioned reaching out to cit- the last assessment and today, izens," he said. "Over time, how do you take In the past, the city. has piggy- an expenditure today and relate backed on Sussex County's as- it to value in 19697" Sargent said. sessment, last done in 1974. Sen. He said reassessment is not George Bunting, D-Bethany too big of a deal in Rehoboth, Beach, has asked county officials since the taxes are so low al- to consider a reassessment. ready."It makes sense at this Cooper said if the county were point," Sargent said, to reassess there would be no Commissioner Mark Hunker point in Rehoboth reassessing. said he was interested in seeing However, Cooper said he has whether itis necessary to spend been given no indication by $130,000 on reassessment in- county officials that there is any stead of in areas such as parking interest in a countywide re- improvements, downtown beau- assessment. Outfall work ongoing in Rehoboth h Globetti said DNREC will be- two weeks' time, but it may be their height following the 2005 gin work on the dunes as early as that Rehoboth Beach will require replenishment, 13.2 feet. next week. "The dune work in less," he said. Cooper said the cityhas very Dewey Beach was completed in DNREC will raise the dunes to little role in the project Dunes set to be raised to 2005 height By Ryan Mavity Rehoboth last month. ryanm@capegazette,com Michael Globetti, spokesman for Department of Natural Re- The dredges may be gone, but sources and Environmental Con- work on Rehoboth Beach by the trol, said the excavator is keeping U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the ends of the stormwater out- and the state Department of Nat- fall pipes clear until extensions ural Resources and Environmen- can be placed on the ends of the tal Control goes on, as bulldozers pipes. and excavators work on the out- Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper fail pipes that carry stormwater said during the 2005 beach re- into the ocean, plenishment, the outfall pipes Stephen Rochette, spokesman were buried. The corps is now for the U.S. Army Corps of Engi- trying to keep the pipes open so neers, said an excavator is work- they do not back up, and will be ing to maintain drainage for the extending the pipes. ouffall pipes until the state is able Rochette said it costs $1,200 to to extend them. maintain the ouffall pipes, which Maintenance on the outfall is being shared by DNREC and pipes was a modification to the the corps. He said the corps is contract with Great Lakes still waiting on proposals for the Dredge and Dock, which com- extension work. pleted beach replenishment in EXCAVATORS ON REHOBOTH ly be extended. RYAN MAVITY PHOTO BEACH are work ng to keep outfall pipes leading into the ocean clear so they can eventual-