Staffing issues may add time to Sussex reassessment

So far, data collectors have visited 44% of 181,000 properties
February 24, 2023

Due to staffing issues, Sussex County reassessment data collection could take a few more months than previously expected.

Contractor Tyler Technologies was supposed to have the collection phase of the process completed by July 1, but now that date is uncertain, said Chip Guy, Sussex County communications director.

So far, more than 80,000 of the 181,000 parcels have been visited by assessment data collectors, which is 44% of the total number.

Guy said owners of properties that have been visited will start to receive informational mailings within the next month. “We would urge property owners to review the information to ensure its accuracy,” Guy said.

Collectors are presently working in the Bethany Beach area and will continue to work up the coast through April 1.

After that date, they will return back to the western side of the county to cover the Seaford area.

Officials in all three Delaware counties are under a court order to conduct a reassessment, which is the first in Sussex County.

Currently, Sussex County property owners pay taxes based on 50% of a property's 1974 appraised value. County property tax is 10% of the annual bill, while 90% is school taxes. On average, single-family home owners pay $118 per year in county property taxes; manufactured home owners pay an average of $46 per year.

Market values of properties

Delaware law requires that appraisals reflect the market value of the property at the time of an appraisal. The date of value for Sussex will be July 1, 2023. Values must reflect current market value supported by data and analysis conducted during a prescribed time leading up to that date.

For commercial properties, appraisers will reach a valuation by considering a host of factors – not just income.

Some of the factors that will be studied are local construction cost, land values, sales data, income and expense data, and other elements that could affect values. Tyler staff will consider all three approaches to value (cost, market and income), selecting the one that best predicts the current market value of the property.

Paul Miller, Tyler Technologies’ eastern regional sales leader, said the bottom line of reassessment is to predict what every single residential and commercial property in Sussex County would sell for. “This has be accurate and equitable. It's a monumental task,” he said.

Mailings to property owners

Property owners will receive at least two mailings from the company. The first, to be mailed within the next month, will contain known data on properties, similar to a Realtor's information sheet. Property owners will have an opportunity to review the data and make changes.

A notice of value will be mailed out once all data has been collected. It's at that stage that property owners can schedule an informal meeting with staff if they have questions about their reassessment.

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