DOVER — As the court-mandated property reassessment process begins in Kent County, Tyler Technologies and Levy Court are holding a series of informational meetings for the public.
There will be two meetings on Oct. 12 — at 1 p.m. at the Milford Senior Center, 111 Park Ave. and at 6 p.m. at Harrington Fire House, 20 Clark St.
Two meetings will be held on Oct. 14 — at 1 p.m. at Kent County Levy Court, 555 Bay Road, in Dover and at 6 p.m. at Cheswold Fire Company, 371 Main St.
More information can be found on a dedicated page for the reassessment within the county’s website.
In early June, Tyler Technologies was awarded a more than $4 million contract to complete the reassessment for Kent County. The Texas-based company also is handling Sussex County’s reassessment, at the cost of $9 million.
The reassessment is the result of an American Civil Liberties Union and Community Legal Aid Society lawsuit filed in 2018 that alleged the state was not providing adequate funding for education due to outdated assessments.
Michael McFarlane, senior project manager with Tyler Technologies, said during a Tuesday media preview of the reassessment process that the company’s ideal situation would be a high level of community involvement.
“We encourage all taxpayers or anyone affected by the reassessment to participate,” Mr. McFarlane said. “To gain as much information as possible.”
The goal of the reassessment, Mr. McFarlane said, is to “create fairness and equity in the assessment process.” As Delaware uses a base-year assessment system, meaning properties are assessed and those values are set in stone until the next reassessment, all of Delaware’s assessments have become out of date.
The last time Sussex County underwent a reassessment was in 1974, New Castle in 1983 and Kent County most recently, in 1987.
The first part of the reassessment process — gathering aerial images — already happened in spring 2021. This was not part of a Tyler Technologies project, but the photos gathered from another project will be used in Kent County’s reassessment.
Door-to-door data collection is going on from now through mid-2023. It’s during this part of the process that trained data collectors will visit properties in Kent County to take a visual assessments to determine the value of a property.
The data collectors will be wearing bright yellow vests that read “Tyler” on the back. They also will carry an ID issued by Kent County. Photos of each assessor can be found on Tyler Technologies website, as well.
Data collectors will knock on doors, but will never enter a home during this part of the process.
Mr. McFarlane said Tyler Technologies is seeking people to work as data collectors. For more information or to apply, visit here.
Data collection is followed by an analysis of each property that runs from fall 2022 to mid-2023.
Then, from mid-2023 to late-2023, mailers will be sent to all property owners that contain a tentative assessment of the property’s newly determined value. At this time, property owners are encouraged to review, confirm or correct items that may affect property values.
If the tentative appraised value is reasonable, no further action is needed.
If the proposed value does not reflect the current market value of the property, owners are invited to set up an informal review with a representative from Tyler Technologies. In this portion of the process, Mr. McFarlane said Tyler Technologies is anticipating “thousands of requests” for property owners to dispute the reassessment value.
While Tyler Technology’s contract stipulates that the reassessment must be completed by 2024, Paul Miller, Tyler’s Eastern Region lead sales representative, said this process ideally will ensure any future reassessments are easier.
“We’re going to go door to door to get the most pristine data we can,” Mr. Miller said. “(In the future) they’re just looking for little mistakes, little errors. Things where we made errors, typing errors and somebody built something new in the last five years. Now that job becomes so much less onerous that the prices come down, the impact on the public is much easier.”