SUSSEX CO., Del. – For the first time in nearly 50 years, property taxes in Sussex County will be reassessed. “We’re really excited about this because it ensures that property rates are now going to be taxed at a level that is fair and resembles the true value of properties,” says a member of the American Civil Liberties Union legal staff (ACLU) in Delaware, Dwayne Bensing.
While that may mean higher rates for some, the ACLU says it just means everyone will finally pay their fair share, and ultimately the county education system will benefit. “It was a really difficult burden for our school districts to try to keep up, maintaining the income necessary to provide quality education to our students,” Bensing said.
The decision to do so was not made easily. In fact, the Delawareans for Educational Opportunities and the Delaware NAACP had to sue. In May 2020, a judge ruled that the tax assessment systems of Delaware’s three counties were unconstitutional and imposed property tax reassessments. The judge recognized that those who were forced to pay more were owners of property of disproportionate value. Kent and New Castle counties followed suit, but Sussex County held out until last week’s council meeting. “There is no point in spending taxpayers’ money on a losing battle, although it would not be my preference I will vote yes,” said Sussex County Council Deputy Chairman John Rieley .
County council members voted to go ahead with the reassessments, despite their disagreement with the outcome of the trial. They are concerned that reassessing property values is a long and expensive process. Whatever the cost, according to the ACLU, it’s worth it if it means leveling the playing field. ”There will be winners and losers when the reassessments are made, but I think we’ll all be winners for one. a more just and equitable system where we all contribute our fair share, ”says Bensing.
All properties will be appraised and recalculated based on the current industry accepted method by 2025. County will provide updates on the process you can click here .