50 years overdue reassessment for property taxes in DE

SUSSEX CO., Del. – For the first time in almost 50 years, property taxes in Sussex County are going to be reassessed. “We’re really excited about that because it makes sure property rates are now going to be taxed at a level that is fair and that resembles the true value of the properties,” says a legal staff member with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Delaware, Dwayne Bensing.

Although that may mean higher rates for some, the ACLU¬† says it just means everyone will finally pay their fair share, and in the end, it’s the county’s education system that will benefit.” That was a really hard burden for our school districts to try to keep up with, maintaining the revenue necessary to provide a quality education to our students,” says Bensing.

The decision to do this wasn’t one that was made easily. In fact the Delawareans for Educational opportunity and the NAACP of Delaware had to sue. In May of 2020 a judge ruled that all three Delaware counties’ tax assessment systems were unconstitutional, and mandated property tax reassessments. The judge agreeing that those stuck paying more, were disproportionately low valued property owners. Both Kent and New Castle counties followed suit, however Sussex county has held out until last weeks council meeting. “There’s no point in spending tax payers money in a losing battle, even though it wouldn’t be my preference, I will vote yes,” says Sussex county council Vice President, John Rieley.

County Council members voted to move forward with the reassessments, despite disagreeing with the outcome of the lawsuit. They say they’re concerned that the reassessing of property values is a long and costly process. Regardless of the price tag, according to the ACLU it’s worth it if it means leveling the playing field.” There’s going to be winners an losers when reassessments are done, but I think we’re all going to be winners for a more fair and equitable system where we all contribute our fair share,” says Bensing.

All properties will be evaluated and recalculated based on current industry-accepted method by 2025. The county will provide updates about the process, you can click here .

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics