Schuylkill County Commissioners on Wednesday will hear a plan to make a significant purchase ahead of the impending property tax reassessment.
According to the agenda for the August 3 work session meeting, the County’s chief tax assessor, Kent Hatter, will propose a plan for his office to lease not 1, not 2, but 3 new cars to help with the controversial reassessment.
Earlier this year, the Commissioners agreed to a settlement proposal on a lawsuit the County faced. That settlement included a provision that Schuylkill County conduct a full reassessment, something it hasn’t done since 1996.
The County promises the reassessment will be revenue neutral somehow and that equally one-third of residents can expect their property tax bills to go up, go down, or stay the same.
But what the County didn’t promise at that time was that it wouldn’t make bizarre spending requests in the run up to the start of the reassessment.
The questionable nature of the spending requests? From the Schuylkill County Commissoners, that’s a given.
Tax Assessment Office Wants 3 New Cars for Property Reassessment
Hatter’s proposal is this: The Commissioners should approve his plan to lease 3 2022-23 Subaru Imprezas for his office.
Hatter thinks these 3 cars are necessary for the “data collection and district work by the field appraisers” conducting the reassessment.
The cost of each brand new Subaru Impreza is $30,395. The lease will apparently be made through Mauch Chunk Trust Company. And the annual lease payment for each vehicle is $6,079 for a term of 5 years. The total annual cost would be $18,237.
To our knowledge, the County did not seek bids from car dealers for this purchase. And it’s not clear where the Commissioners will get the money for these vehicles.
But wherever the money’s coming from, it won’t stay local.
Rather than leasing or purchasing these new cars from a Schuylkill County dealer, the Commissioners are being asked to lease them from Steve Moyer Subaru in Leesport, Berks County.
Presumably, all the local car dealers were fresh out of new cars or it’s that no one at the Courthouse thought it might be a good idea to keep such a purchase within the County.
No formal action is expected, if the Commissioners’ agenda is accurate, at the August 3 meeting.
Of course, there’s always a chance they’ve already signed the papers for these cars and it’s something they’ll approve in public when they’re good and ready.