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Carbon enters into appraisal over Split Rock market value

Carbon County officials have entered into an agreement with Jim Thorpe School District and Kidder Township for an appraisal of a business that has filed a property tax appeal in hopes of getting its taxes lowered.

On Thursday, the board of commissioners approved the agreement with the two entities for a joint contract with Integra Realty Resources of Philadelphia at a cost of $21,000, which is split based on the percentage that each party would receive in taxes. Carbon County’s share of the contract is $3,990.

The appraiser will perform a commercial appraisal and determine a fair market value of three parcels of Split Rock Resort.

According to a civil filing, filed Nov. 29 in the Carbon County prothonotary’s office, Split Rock Investments LLC is appealing the decision of the Carbon County Board of Assessment Appeals. The board had made assessments of the three parcels, valuing $2,724,458.

Split Rock officials, in the court filing, are asking to have that assessment reduced after the board of assessment appeals decided not to lower the assessed value, which “was in excess of the premises’ fair market value.”

The company claims the board’s assessment was “prejudicial and discriminatory” because “it lacks uniformity with assessments of other real property in Carbon County and the ratio of assessed value to market value is in excess the ratio commonly prevailing in the subject boroughs and school districts.”

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that if the county “fails to step up and challenge the outside appraisal of the business, the county alone could lose about $18,000 a year in (tax) revenue.”

He said that the hit for Jim Thorpe School District would be even greater.

Nothstein continued that the county’s real estate tax revenue for 2024 is only expected to increase by $160,000. If the appeal is lowered, that would decrease to $150,000 in additional revenue.

He added that without the additional revenue, it would come back on homeowners to foot the bills or the county not being able to provide the services that are required.

In other tax matters, the commissioners approved two contracts with Paramount Abstract Inc. of Jim Thorpe for lien and title searches for the 2023 Upset Tax Sale and 2024 Judicial Sale. The cost for the 39 lien searches is $75 a search. The cost for the 50 title searches is $180 per search.