A Schuylkill County business owner will pay $15,502 less in property taxes after county commissioners on Thursday approved reductions in the assessments of two of his properties.

The reductions are retroactive to Jan. 1.

Prem K. Marlapudi, who owns Valley Square Mall on two adjoining properties, 565 and 567 West Penn Pike, along Route 309 in West Penn Township, successfully challenged the tax assessments.

“After extensive negotiations, and based upon the affected taxing districts’ review of comparable sales and expert appraisal opinion obtained by the taxpayer and the school district and county, the parties agreed to divide the difference between their respective appraisals,” said county solicitor Glenn T. Roth Jr.

The total new fair market value of the properties is now $715,000. It was $864,480, according to county online property records.

The assessed value, on which taxes are based, is now a combined $156,221. It was $432,240, according to county online property records.

Using those figures, Prem would have owed the Tamaqua Area School District $15,811, the township $2,053, and the county $6,410, for a total combined bill of $24,274.

With the reductions, the school district will get $5,714, the township $742, and the county $2,316, a combined total of $8,772.

Prem, of Cheltenham, Montgomery County, bought the properties in 2003 for $1.442 million.

In other matters, commissioners approved a $40,000 design consultant contract between WJP Engineering and the county for a Parks & Recreation Department waterfall development project.

The money was budgeted by the department.